Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Friday, February 2, 2018

‘Because of My Transgression My Eyes Are Opened’” Old Testament: Gospel Doctrine

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Elder Bruce R. McConkie said that our salvation is made possible because of “three divine events—the three pillars of eternity” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [1985], 81)

The above picture represents the three Pillars of eternity, now tell me, what do you believe are some events that are important enough to be the “pillars of eternity” that make salvation possible?  Elder McConkie said that these pillars are the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement, which are all part of God’s plan for our salvation. 

Like the creation, which we have previously studied; we need to understand how the Fall was a necessary part of Heavenly Father’s plan to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life, yet no other biblical account has been debated more and understood less than that relating to Adam and Eve. 

Elder Mark E. Petersen wrote “Adam, the first man, is a controversial figure in the minds of many people. So is Eve, his wife. Together, they probably are the most misunderstood couple who ever lived on the earth.  “This is hardly to be wondered at, though. Misconceptions and far-out theories have been bombarding the public concerning our first parents for centuries past. Probably the most to blame are teachers of religion themselves. Not knowing the facts about Adam and Eve, they have foisted their own private notions and uninspired creeds upon the people, with the result that a mass of confusion has mounted year after year.” (Adam: Who Is He? p. 1.)

The main reason the accounts of the Creation and the Fall are misunderstood and misinterpreted is because of the willful removal of plain and precious things from the Old Testament. 1 Nephi 13:25–29   
I find it interesting that is was willful removal, and by men that history tells us, were the leaders of "The Church" at that time.  This surely affirms to us that Satan is hard at work leading the hearts of mean astray into apostasy with an appetite for power and it is most imperative that we understand not only the history of these subjects but also the doctrine to be able to gain the knowledge we need to endure.   
As Members of the church we have much of what has been removed and lost ,found in the Pearl of Great Price books of Moses and Abraham.  But the world has only the account of the fall found in Genesis in the Old Testament which treats the Fall as an event but does not discuss the doctrine.  
The reason for the Fall and how it serves mankind are not discussed in the Old Testament the world has; there is some light shed in the New Testament, but it is very limited.   However with the gift of the Book of Mormon, the doctrine of the fall is taught most clearly, so it is not surprising that the doctrine of the fall is misunderstood in the world for they do not have latter-day scripture to help them. The purpose of the events discussed in Genesis 3 was summed up by Lehi when he taught, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25)

1. The Fall of Adam and Eve and its effects on them and us

In the Garden of Eden, God commanded Adam and Eve to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Moses 2:28). He also commanded them not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Moses 3:17). As long as they did not partake of the forbidden fruit, they would remain in the garden and would not die. But they also would not be able to obey the command to multiply (Moses 5:11; 2 Nephi 2:23). Heavenly Father gave them agency to choose between the two commands. 

It is important to remember when reading the account of the fall to know some important facts:

1.When Adam and Eve were placed in Eden they were not subject to the power of death and could have lived, in the state of innocence in which they were, forever had they not violated the law given them in the Garden. 

2.The earth also was pronounced good, and would have remained in that same state forever had it not been changed to meet Adam’s fallen condition.  All things on the face of the earth also would have remained in that same condition, had not Adam transgressed the law. 

3. By partaking of the forbidden fruit, and thus violating the law under which he was placed, his nature was changed, and he became subject to (1) spiritual death, which is banishment from the presence of God; (2) temporal death, which is separation of spirit and body. This death also came to Eve his wife.

4. Had Adam and Eve not transgressed the law given in Eden, they would have had no children.

5. Because of this transgression bringing mortality, the children of Adam and Eve inherited mortal bodies and became subject to the mortal death. 

6. Because Adam transgressed the law, the Lord changed the earth to suit the mortal condition and all things on the face of the earth became subject to mortality, as did the earth also. 

7. To defeat the power which death had gained it became necessary that an infinite atonement be offered to pay the debt and thereby restore Adam and Eve and all of their posterity, and all things, to immortal life through the resurrection.” (Man, His Origin and Destiny, pp. 50–51.)

Unlike traditional Christian teachings, the results of the fall in our understanding as Latter-day Saints are positive. The traditional Christian world understands the fall to be a bad thing, and is called The Doctrine of Original Sin. The Doctrine of Original Sin and Historical Development of it give us some understanding into the worlds belief: 

Paul's view that Adam's fall introduced sin and death (Rom. 5:12) led Augustine (fifth century CE) to develop the doctrine of original sin: that Adam's fall perverted all humanity and that its effects were passed by hereditary transmission from generation to generation. The belief that Adam, as a corporate personality was responsible for the sins of humanity was never adopted by Judaism and was resisted by Christian thinkers such as Pelagius and Julian of Eclanum (fifth century CE), but Augustine's interpretation of the Fall became the accepted doctrine of Catholic Christianity.  (The Oxford Illustrated Companion to the Bible, edited by Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan [New York: Tess Press, 2008], 89)   Original Sin - The Catholic Encyclopedia

 For Latter-day Saints the Fall is all part of the eternal plan to help us achieve our ultimate destiny. President Marion G. Romney said:  "I do not look upon Adam's action as a sin. I think it was a deliberate act of free agency. He chose to do that which had to be done to further the purposes of God" (Conference Report,  Apr 1953).

President Joseph Fielding Smith teaches us of the fall:  "Lucifer did not know all the purposes of the Father as we learn from the Pearl of Great Price, Moses 4:6.  Therefore the Lord used Satan's evil acts to accomplish his own purposes." (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:225)

Elder John A. Widtsoe: "One thing must be kept in mind: The fall was not a sin in the usually accepted sense of that word. It was a necessary act in a series of acts by which ultimately all men will win an eternal possession of their earth-bodies. In the gospel sense, the fall of Adam brought life, not death, into man's eternal existence." (Evidences & Reconciliations, p73)

An Account of the Fall Moses 4:6–31   Genesis 3

In the Genesis account of the Fall, the serpent speaks to Eve and tempts her to partake of the fruit. The more complete account below from the book of Moses points out that Satan is the one speaking, although he does so through the serpent ( Moses 4:6–7 Genesis 3:1)

6 And Satan put it into the heart of the serpent, (for he had drawn away many after him,) and he sought also to beguile Eve, for he knew not the mind of God, wherefore he sought to destroy the world.
7 And he said unto the woman: Yea, hath God said—Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (And he spake by the mouth of the serpent.)

Moses 4:8–11  Genesis 3:4–5  
“The devil in tempting Eve told a truth when he said unto her that when she should eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they should become as Gods. He told the truth in telling that, but he accompanied it with a lie as he always does. He never tells the complete truth. He said that they should not die. The Father had said that they should die. The devil had to tell a lie in order to accomplish his purposes; but there was some truth in his statement. Their eyes were opened. They had a knowledge of good and evil just as the Gods have. They became as Gods; for that is one of the features, one of the peculiar attributes of those who attain unto that glory—they understand the difference between good and evil.” (Cannon, Gospel Truth, 1:16.)

8 And the woman said unto the serpent: We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden;

9 But of the fruit of the tree which thou beholdest in the midst of the garden, God hath said—Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 

10 And the serpent said unto the woman: Ye shall not surely die;
11 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Moses 4:12–19  Genesis 3:6
The accounts in both Moses and Genesis state only that Satan approached Eve, but latter-day revelation records that he first approached Adam and was refused. Eve, however, was deceived by Satan and partook. Knowing that she would be driven out and separated from him, Adam then partook. Paul the Apostle wrote of the Fall, “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Timothy 2:14)

12 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it became pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make her wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and also gave unto her husband with her, and he did eat.
13 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they had been naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.
14 And they heard the voice of the Lord God, as they were walking in the garden, in the cool of the day; and Adam and his wife went to hide themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
15 And I, the Lord God, called unto Adam, and said unto him: Where goest thou?16 And he said: I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I beheld that I was naked, and I hid myself. 
17 And I, the Lord God, said unto Adam: Who told thee thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat, if so thou shouldst surely die? 
18 And the man said: The woman thou gavest me, and commandest that she should remain with me, she gave me of the fruit of the tree and I did eat. 
19 And I, the Lord God, said unto the woman: What is this thing which thou hast done? And the woman said: The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

Elder James E. Talmage explained how, even in her being deceived, Eve still brought about the purposes of the Lord:  “Eve was fulfilling the foreseen purposes of God by the part she took in the great drama of the fall; yet she did not partake of the forbidden fruit with that object in view, but with intent to act contrary to the divine command, being deceived by the sophistries of Satan, who also, for that matter, furthered the purposes of the Creator by tempting Eve; yet his design was to thwart the Lord’s plan. We are definitely told that ‘he knew not the mind of God, wherefore he sought to destroy the world’ [Moses 4:6]. Yet his diabolical effort, far from being the initiatory step toward destruction, contributed to the plan of man’s eternal progression. Adam’s part in the great event was essentially different from that of his wife; he was not deceived; on the contrary he deliberately decided to do as Eve desired, that he might carry out the purposes of his Maker with respect to the race of men, whose first patriarch he was ordained to be.” (Articles of Faith, pp. 69–70.)

Brigham Young said that “we should never blame Mother Eve,” because through her transgression, and Adam’s joining her in it, mankind was enabled to come to know good from evil (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 103)
 Moses 4:20–21 Genesis 3:15
20 And I, the Lord God, said unto the serpent: Because thou hast done this thou shalt be cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life;
21 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed; and he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

What Is the Meaning of the Curse Put on Satan?  Since Satan has no body and therefore can have no literal children, his seed are those who follow him, both the one-third he led away in the premortal existence and those who follow his enticements in mortality until they come under his power. The seed of the woman refers to Jesus Christ, who was the only mortal born of an earthly mother and a Heavenly Father. 

President Joseph Fielding Smith referred to what the Apostle Paul wrote: 

Near the close of his epistle to the Roman saints, he said: ‘And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.’ Romans 16:20  “The ‘God of peace,’ who according to the scriptures is to bruise Satan, is Jesus Christ.” (Answers to Gospel Questions, 1:3.) 

The promise concerning the bruising of the heel and head means that while Satan (as the serpent) will bruise the heel of the Savior by leading men to crucify Him and seemingly destroy Him, in actuality that very act of Atonement will give Christ the power to overcome the power that Satan has over men and undo the effects of the Fall. Thus, the seed of the woman (Christ) shall crush the head of the serpent (Satan and his kingdom) with the very heel that was bruised (the atoning sacrifice)
 Moses 4:22  Genesis 3:16 
22 Unto the woman, I, the Lord God, said: I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
“The Lord said to the woman: ‘… in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children.’ I wonder if those who translated the Bible might have used the term distress instead of sorrow. It would mean much the same, except I think there is great gladness in most Latter-day Saint homes when there is to be a child there. As He concludes this statement he says, ‘and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.’ (Gen. 3:16.) I have a question about the word rule. It gives the wrong impression. I would prefer to use the word preside because that’s what he does. A righteous husband presides over his wife and family.” (Spencer W. Kimball, “The Blessings and Responsibilities of Womanhood,” Ensign, Mar. 1976, p. 72.)

 Moses 4:23-31  Genesis 3:16–19

23 And unto Adam, I, the Lord God, said: Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the fruit of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying—Thou shalt not eat of it, cursed shall be the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. 
24 Thorns also, and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.
25 By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou shalt return unto the ground—for thou shalt surely die—for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou wast, and unto dust shalt thou return.

 Moses 4:26-27  Genesis 3:20

26 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living; for thus have I, the Lord God, called the first of all women, which are many.
27 Unto Adam, and also unto his wife, did I, the Lord God, make coats of skins, and clothed them.

Scant knowledge is available to us of Eve (the wife of Adam) and her achievements in pre-existence and in mortality. Without question she was like unto her mighty husband, Adam, in intelligence and in devotion to righteousness, during both her first and second estates of existence. She was placed on earth in the same manner as was Adam, the Mosaic account of the Lord creating her from Adam’s rib being merely figurative. (Moses 3:20–25.) she was the first woman; she became the mother of the whole human race, her very name signifying ‘mother of all living.’ (Moses 4:26; 1 Ne. 5:11.) …“Before the fall Eve was sealed to Adam in the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, a ceremony performed by the Lord before death entered the world and therefore one destined to last forever. (Moses 3:20–25.) …Indeed, Eve is a joint-participant with Adam in all his ministry, and will inherit jointly with him all the blessings appertaining to his high state of exaltation.” (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 242.)

Moses 3:28–30  Genesis 3:24. Cherubim and the Flaming Sword
28 And I, the Lord God, said unto mine Only Begotten: Behold, the man is become as one of us to know good and evil; and now lest he put forth his hand and partake also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever,
29 Therefore I, the Lord God, will send him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken;
30 For as I, the Lord God, liveth, even so my words cannot return void, for as they go forth out of my mouth they must be fulfilled.
31 So I drove out the man, and I placed at the east of the Garden of Eden, cherubim and a flaming sword, which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life.

For an explanation of why the Lord barred Adam and Eve from the tree of life, read Alma 12:21–27; 42:2–12.

“We can picture the plight of Adam and Eve. They had been condemned to sorrows, woes, troubles, and labor and they were cast out from the presence of God, and death had been declared to be their fate. A pathetic picture, indeed. But now a most important thing happened. Adam and Eve had explained to them the gospel of Jesus Christ. What would be their reaction? When the Lord explained this to them, that a redemption should come through Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten of the Father, Adam exclaimed: ‘Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh shall I see God.’ Moses 5:10  (George Q. Morris, in Conference Report, Apr. 1958, p. 39.)

What were the results of the Fall for Adam and Eve and for us?  
1. Adam and Eve were able to have children, which allowed us to come to earth and receive mortal bodies (Moses 5:11; 6:48; 2 Nephi 2:23, 25Elder Bruce R. McConkie:  "Except for the fall, the earth would not be peopled; we would still be in the pre-existence living as spirits, and that agency and those trials we now possess would not be. There would be no redemption from death, no immortality, no eternal life, no salvation of any sort. The purposes of God would thus be frustrated and come to naught." (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p85)

2. We experience physical death, or separation of the physical body from the spirit (Moses 4:25; 6:48; 2 Nephi 9:6“Because of Adam’s transgression, a spiritual death—banishment from the presence of the Lord—as well as the temporal death, were pronounced upon him. The spiritual death came at the time of the fall and banishment; and the seeds of the temporal death were also sown at that same time; that is, a physical change came over Adam and Eve, who became mortal, and were thus subject to the ills of the flesh which resulted in their gradual decline to old age and finally the separation of the spirit from the body.” (Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:111; for further information on the principle that spiritual death also resulted from the Fall, D&C 29:40–41; Alma 42:7.)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie:  "After the creation came the fall; after all things had been created, all things fell. The fall was as universal as the creation. It included man, the earth, and all forms of life. Through the fall, all things passed downward to a lower status; they lost the station and dignity that once was theirs and were changed from the primeval and paradisiacal state to their present mortal state. This change from a deathless to a mortal state brought with it all things that appertain to mortality, including procreation, disease, suffering, and death. None of these existed on this earth prior to the fall." (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p84)

3. We experience spiritual death, or separation from God’s presence (Moses 4:29; 6:49; 2 Nephi 9:6President Harold B. Lee:  "Next to life itself, free agency is God's greatest gift to mankind, providing thereby the greatest opportunity for the children of God to advance in this second estate of mortality. A prophet-leader on this continent explained this to his son as recorded in an ancient scripture: that to bring about these, the Lord's eternal purposes, there must be opposites, an enticement by the good on the one hand and by the evil on the other." (Stand Ye In Holy Places, p235)

  1. 4. We are partakers of misery and woe (Moses 6:48; Genesis 3:16–17Elder George Q. Morris"There is the key to the question of evil. If we cannot be good, except as we resist and overcome evil, then evil must be present to be resisted. So this earth life is set up according to true principles, and these conditions that followed the transgression were not, in the usual sense, penalties that were inflicted upon us. All these that I have named to you that seem to be sad inflictions of punishment, sorrow, and trouble are in the end not that. They are blessings. We have attained a knowledge of good and evil, the power to prize the sweet, to become agents unto ourselves, the power to obtain redemption and eternal life. These things had their origin in this transgression. The Lord has set the earth up so we have to labor if we are going to live, which preserves us from the curse of idleness and indolence; and though the Lord condemns us to death -- mortal death -- it is one of the greatest blessings that comes to us here because it is the doorway to immortality, and we can never attain immortality without dying." (Conference Report, Apr. 1958)
  2. President Spencer W. Kimball:  "If we looked at mortality as the whole of existence, then pain, sorrow, failure, and short life would be calamity. But if we look upon life as an eternal thing stretching far into the premortal past and on into the eternal post-death future, then all happenings may be put in proper perspective....    "Is there not wisdom in his giving us trials that we might rise above them, responsibilities that we might achieve, work to harden our muscles, sorrows to try our souls? Are we not exposed to temptations to test our strength, sickness that we might learn patience, death that we might be immortalized and glorified?     "If all the sick for whom we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended. No man would have to live by faith.     "If joy and peace and rewards were instantaneously given the doer of good, there could be no evil—all would do good but not because of the rightness of doing good. There would be no test of strength, no development of character, no growth of powers, no free agency, only satanic controls." (Faith Precedes the Miracle, p97)
  3. 5. We are capable of sinning (Moses 6:49, 55; 2 Nephi 2:22–23God knows us just as He knew His first two children on earth, Adam and Eve. And just as He perceived they would eat the forbidden fruit, He also understands that we will sin during our time on earth—and He has made a way for us to overcome our sins.  Our mortal life is designed to help us gain divine attributes we didn’t already have in our premortal existence, and the Creation of the earth as well as the Fall of Adam were part of God’s plan.  Mormon Beliefs
  4. 6. The ground is cursed, causing us to need to work (Moses 4:23–25; Genesis 3:17–19President Spencer W. Kimball:  "Through the ages there have been many laws repealed, but we know of no divine repeal of the law of work. From the obscure life organs within the body to the building of the moon landing craft, work is one of the conditions of being alive. We have been told that everyday work is a purposeful activity requiring an expenditure of energy with some sacrifice of leisure. Sir William Osler, a great physician of Canada, said that work is the master word in ongoing life. It's the touchstone of progress, the measure of success, and the fount of hope. It is directly responsible, he said, for all advantages in medicine and technology." (Ensign, May 1976, p126)
  5. 7. We can learn to recognize good and evil (Moses 4:28; 6:55–56; 2 Nephi 2:23; Genesis 3:22President Dalin H Oaks:  The purpose of mortal life for the children of God is to provide the experiences needed “to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life.”1 As President Thomas S. Monson taught ...we progress by making choices, by which we are tested to show that we will keep God’s commandments (see Abraham 3:25). To be tested, we must have the agency to choose between alternatives. To provide alternatives on which to exercise our agency, we must have opposition.
  6. Elder Sterling W. Sill:  "In denying our own responsibility, we frequently blame Satan for much of the misery that we are bringing upon ourselves. Satan has no power over us except as we give it to him. And temptations without imply desires within; and rather than say, 'How powerfully the devil tempts,' we might say, 'How strongly I am inclined.' God never forces us to do right, and Satan has no power to force us to do wrong. As someone has said, 'God always votes for us and Satan always votes against us, and then we are asked to vote to break the tie.' It is how we vote that gives our lives their significance." (Conference Report, Apr 1970)
  7. 8. We can have joy in mortality (Moses 5:10; 2 Nephi 2:23, 25President Russell M Nelson:  When the focus of our lives is on Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives.
  8. 9. We can know the joy of our redemption (Moses 5:11)

  9. 10. We can obtain eternal life (Moses 5:11)

  10. Perhaps you have wondered about things which are the result of the Fall. Why should you be born into a world filled with both good and evil? Why is there suffering in the world? Why do all men have to die? What about the spiritual death and its effects? These and many other problems are directly related to the Fall.   
  11. The Fall, we know as Latter-day Saints is beneficial to us. Latter-day revelation clarifies that even before the Creation, Heavenly Father intended our earth life to be a time of testing and proving so we could become more like him (Abraham 3:24–26). This required that we be mortals, able to learn to choose between good and evil, which was made possible through the Fall.  
  12. How can a correct understanding of the Fall help us during mortality?  Because God has spoken anew in our day about Adam and Eve, we know things about ourselves- about our nature and true relationship to Deity-that we would not know otherwise. (Robert L Millet Adam: A Latter-day Saint Perspective)
  13. Why is it important to understand that God foresaw the Fall and that it was a necessary part of his plan for our salvation?  In order to properly appreciate that the fulness of the gospel was taught to Adam and the early patriarchs of the earth, we must understand that the gospel and the plan of salvation are older than the earth. The plan was known and talked about among the hosts of heaven ages ago, existing in the mind of God and in the minds of millions of his sons and daughters long before the earth was created. In fact, we see that the earth was created in compliance with the plan. Creations, foreordinations, promises, ordinances, agencies, and all that pertains to the fall and redemption of the earth were all known and provided for even before the earth was formed. It was therefore no surprise to heaven when Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit and became mortal. The Fall was foreordained from before the foundation of the world. Certainly we know that Jesus was called and foreordained before the world was formed to make an atonement....
  14. When his son was concerned as to why the gospel should be known so long before the mortal advent of Jesus, Alma said:  And now I will ease your mind somewhat on this subject. Behold, you marvel why these things should be known so long beforehand. Behold, I say unto you, is not a soul at this time as precious unto God as a soul will be at the time of his coming?  Is it not as necessary that the plan of redemption should be made known unto this people as well as unto their children?  Is it not as easy at this time for the Lord to send his angel to declare these glad tidings unto us as unto our children, or as after the time of his coming? (Alma 39:17-19.) 
  15. When we contemplate the antiquity and eternal nature of the plan of salvation, we can conclude that the Grand Council in Heaven, as it is sometimes called, was not a single meeting but rather a series of meetings-an entire education, so to speak-in which we, as the sons and daughters of God, were taught the gospel and became acquainted with eternal principles and with the great and noble personages who would be the future leaders of the kingdom of God on the earth. We first met Jesus and the great prophets and patriarchs in the premortal life, and we are learning again those same principles and laws we knew in that ancient sphere but have forgotten because of our mortality. The Savior, the prophets, the wives and mothers of the prophets, and other noble and great ones were all selected in that premortal world according to their obedience to the plan of salvation, the same plan that is now taught to us on the earth through the scriptures and the living prophets.  (The Revelation of the Gospel to Adam: The Meaning of the Atonement Robert J. Matthews) 
  16. Satan hoped that by getting Adam and Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit, he would frustrate God’s plan Moses 4:6.
  17. What does the account of the Fall teach us about Satan’s ability to frustrate the purposes of God?  D&C 3:1–2  The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.  For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.

  18. 2. The Atonement of Jesus Christ saves us from physical and spiritual death  Moses 5:14–15; 6:50–54, 57–62
  19. The Fall of Adam and Eve brought physical and spiritual death into the world. Physical death is the separation of the body and the spirit that occurs at the end of our mortal lives. Spiritual death is the separation from the presence of God, which occurred when Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden.  We cannot overcome death by ourselves. For that reason, Heavenly Father sent his Only Begotten Son to redeem us from death through his atoning sacrifice Alma 22:14
  20. When prophets teach about the Fall of Adam and Eve, they often also teach about the Atonement of Jesus Christ (Moses 5:10–15; 6:48–62; 2 Nephi 9:6–10)
  21. Why is it important to teach the Atonement along with the Fall?  The Fall made the Atonement necessary in God’s plan for our salvation. Teaching the Atonement along with the Fall helps us understand how we are redeemed from physical and spiritual death.
  22. President Ezra Taft Benson said: “The plan of redemption must start with the account of the fall of Adam. In the words of Moroni, ‘By Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, … and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man’ (Mormon 9:12). Just as a man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ. No one adequately and properly knows why he needs Christ until he understands and accepts the doctrine of the Fall and its effect upon all mankind” (Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 106; or Ensign, May 1987, 85)
  23. How are we saved from physical death? 1 Corinthians 15:20–22; 2 Nephi 2:8; 9:6  Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we will be resurrected
  24. How can we be saved from spiritual death? Moses 5:14–15; 6:50–52, 59; Helaman 14:15–18; D&C 19:15–19   Because of the Atonement, we can be made clean and worthy to dwell with God through faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and obedience to the commandments. 
  25. Because of our mortal nature, we often make mistakes that negatively impact our view of life. Many years ago, Elder Sterling W. Sill spoke about this in General Conference:  "Because we draw so much from the rebellion, weakness, and evil with which we are surrounded, we tend to load ourselves up too heavily with guilt complexes, mental problems, insecurity, and mediocrity. I recently heard of a man who compounded the problem by hoarding his mistakes. He often referred to the fact that his D.F.T. drawer was the largest file in his office. Someone once asked him what these file letters stood for, and he said they identified a collection of the damn fool things that he had done."

  26. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we have been endowed with great knowledge about the "fall" of man. We fill our D.F.T. files because of our fallen, mortal nature. Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, we can clear out these D.F.T. files. We qualify for that atoning grace as we are obedient to the will of the Lord and follow the path he has prescribed, including baptism and the ongoing process of repentance (Beardall200 Gospel Doctrine)
  27. The Book of Mormon prophet Jacob rejoiced in the redemption from death that comes through the Savior’s atoning sacrifice 2 Nephi 9:10  O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.
  28. 3. Adam and Eve begin life as mortals, bear children, teach them the gospel, and worship and obey God
  29. What did Adam and Eve do after they were cast out of the Garden of Eden? Moses 5:1–5, 12    And it came to pass that after I, the Lord God, had driven them out, that Adam began to till the earth, and to have dominion over all the beasts of the field, and to eat his bread by the sweat of his brow, as I the Lord had commanded him. And Eve, also, his wife, did labor with him.  And Adam knew his wife, and she bare unto him sons and daughters, and they began to multiply and to replenish the earth.  And from that time forth, the sons and daughters of Adam began to divide two and two in the land, and to till the land, and to tend flocks, and they also begat sons and daughters.  And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence.  And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.
    What can we learn from Moses 5:1–9, 12 about the purposes of our mortal lives?  
  30. What commandment did the Lord give to Adam?  Moses 5:5  And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.
  31. Why did Adam offer sacrifices even though he did not know the reason for doing so? Moses 5:6.  And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.
  32. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Whatever God requires is right, … although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 256) 
  33. Elder Joseph L. Wirthlin:  "In Adam's mind there was no question why he should render obedience, for he knew that whatever the Lord commanded him to do would be for his good and benefit.  "It is interesting to note that after Adam had fulfilled the commandment of offering up sacrifices, the Lord rewarded him with a visitation from a divine being, imparting to Adam the knowledge why he was to offer sacrifices. And this applies to each and everyone of us when obeying the commandments of the Gospel. We may not understand them fully; but through obedience, the Lord will reveal to us the reason and the knowledge which will give us a full, clear comprehension of the law or the commandment involved." (Confernece Report, Apr 1941)
  34. John Taylor: "It would seem that Adam, until instructed by the angel, did not know the reasons for the offering up of sacrifices, nor the object that the Lord had in view in requiring this offering at his hands; for, being asked by the angel why he performed this rite, he said, 'I know not, save the Lord commanded me;' and the object of the visit of this holy being to Adam evidently was to show him why he was called to offer a sacrifice to the Lord, as, on Adam expressing his ignorance of the intent of this offering, the angel stated very explicitly that this thing was 'a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father.' We have here given a reason why Adam offered up this sacrifice." (Mediation and Atonement, pp62-63)
  35. Why is it important to obey the Lord’s commandments even when we do not understand all the reasons for them? Every son and daughter of God is expected to obey with a willing heart every word which the Lord has spoken, and which he will in the future speak to us. It is expected that we hearken to the revelations of his will, and adhere to them, cleave to them with all our might; for this is salvation, and any thing short of this clips the salvation and the glory of the Saints(Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe, 220)
  36. I have been asked the question, what evidence we have that there is a life after death. One rather prominent educator has recently declared that we have no evidence whatever of a life after death, because no one has ever returned. I dispute that statement and declare that it is not true.  The best evidence that we have or that we may receive of eternal life, of the resurrection or restoration of the spirit and body after death, is that which comes to us through obedience to the gospel and the testimony of the Spirit of the Lord. There is no greater evidence than this.  The Savior said: "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."  That is a key that unlocks the door to knowledge of our eternal existence. If men will follow that instruction, they will know the truth, and they will realize that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God and the Redeemer of the world; that he arose from the dead and on the third day after his resurrection appeared to his disciples. Not only that, but that the graves were opened, as the scriptures say, "And many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy, city, and appeared unto many."  (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie 1: 294)

  37. Obedience is often referred to as the first law of heaven. It is a requirement and therefore a principle of the gospel for which all persons will be held accountable. Like other principles of the gospel, we will not be compelled, however, to be obedient against our will. The basic principle of free agency gives us the election to obey or disobey.  (Howard W. Hunter, The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, edited by Clyde J. Williams  21)

  38. What was the purpose of the sacrifices that Adam offered?  Moses 5:7–9 They were a similitude, or likeness, of the sacrifice that Heavenly Father would make of his Only Begotten Son. Offering such sacrifices was a reminder to Adam and his posterity that all mortals can be redeemed from the Fall through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 
  39. "In offering his sacrifice unto the Lord as he was commanded, Adam was admonished by the angel to look forward to that great and last Sacrifice which the Son of God would willingly make as a propitiation for the sins of the world, none of them did He commit. Through His self-sacrifice and death, the Only Begotten would appease divine justice, and by that Sacrifice effect a reconciliation between God and man who had become estranged through Adam's transgression." (Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price, p149 - 150)

  40. What reminders of this doctrine have we been given?  Partaking of the Sacrament each Sunday.  
  41. How can we show our gratitude for the Fall and the Atonement? Record your thoughts in your journal or gospel doctrine notebook to help you in your eternal progression! 

  42.  Conclusion
  43. How do you now feel about the Fall? Can you see how a correct understanding of the Fall gives purpose and meaning to mortality? Lehi said, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25). Each of us is a spirit child of God. This earth was organized as a place for us to continue our learning and progression. Adam and Eve opened the door to mortality for us and for all of God’s children who earned the right to come here. In the premortal life we shouted for joy at the possibility of experiencing mortality (see Job 38:7). But once we come here great things are expected of us. Mortality is a proving ground. The Fall did not open to us the door to Eden; it opened the door to a knowledge of both good and evil. The experience of mortality is a great blessing for each of us.

  44. Resources:
  45. Old Testament Student Manual Genesis 3
  46. Conference Reports
  47. Ensign
  48. History of the Church
  49. A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [1985]
  50. Adam: Who Is He? p. 1
  51. The Oxford Illustrated Companion to the Bible, edited by Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan [New York: Tess Press, 2008], 89)
  52. Evidences & Reconciliations, p73
  53. Cannon, Gospel Truth, 1:16
  54. Articles of Faith, pp. 69–70
  55. Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 103
  56. Answers to Gospel Questions, 1:3
  57. Spencer W. Kimball, “The Blessings and Responsibilities of Womanhood,” Ensign, Mar. 1976, p. 72

  58. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 242
  59. A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p85
  60. Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:111
  61. A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p84
  62. Stand Ye In Holy Places, p235
  63. Faith Precedes the Miracle, p97
  64. Robert L Millet Adam: A Latter-day Saint Perspective
  65. The Revelation of the Gospel to Adam: The Meaning of the Atonement Robert J. Matthews
  66. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 256
  67. Mediation and Atonement, pp62-63
  68. Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe, 220
  69. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie 1: 294
  70. Howard W. Hunter, The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, edited by Clyde J. Williams  21
  71. Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price, p149 - 150

    1. A New Witness for the Articles of Faith by Bruce R. McConkie.

      Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price by George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl

    2. Doctrines of Salvation, Volume 2, by Joseph Fielding Smith.

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The Fall of Adam and Eve

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