ADAM AND EVE WERE THE FIRST TO COME TO EARTH
Again, as with so many topics in this manual, a terrific resource for this lesson is Doctrines of the Gospel Institute Student Manual, found at the “institute.lds.org” website. Another great resource is an article “The Fulness of the Gospel: The Fall of Adam and Eve,” in the Ensign, June 2006, pages 48–49.
One thing important in this section may be to establish the gospel fact that Adam and Eve really were the first to come to earth as mortals created in the image of our Heavenly Parents. In the famous First Presidency statement of 1909 we read;
It is held by some that Adam was not the first man upon this earth and that the original human being was a development from lower orders of the animal creation. These, however, are the theories of men. The word of the Lord declared that Adam was “the first man of all men” (Moses 1:34), and we are therefore in duty bound to regard him as the primal parent of our race. (“The Origin of Man,” [first in 1909] Ensign, Feb 2002)
Another important principle for this section of the lesson may be to dispel myths that Satan has authored to discredit Adam and Eve. Remember this is personal between Satan and Adam. It was Adam, who, as is mentioned in this section, was Michael the archangel (D&C 27:11) who led the battle against Satan’s hosts in premortality (Revelation 12:7-9).
Many in the world, lacking in knowledge of the restoration, characterize our first human parents as crude cavemen, who first communicated with grunting sounds which conveyed rudimentary essentials, then drew childlike pictures on cave walls, and much later in our history developed the first alphabet. As the apostle Elder Mark E. Petersen commented on Adam and Eve:
They were highly intelligent people, not at all like either the hominids or the cavemen some claim the first humans to have been. They were well educated, having been taught by the Lord himself. What an education! What an instructor! (Ensign, Nov 1980, 16)
Some great ideas about how "advanced" Adam and Eve were can be understood by discussing Moses 6:5-8.
A good discussion could come from listing the titles or designations Adam is given as found in the scriptures and in this section and their meaning. Included should be
An important title for Adam was mentioned by Joseph Smith in an earlier Priesthood/Relief Society manual:
The Priesthood was first given to Adam; he obtained the First Presidency, and held the keys of it from generation to generation. He obtained it in the Creation, before the world was formed. (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 104)
In Conference, Elder Richard G. Scott discussed another important roll played by Adam:
Adam was Michael who helped create the earth—a glorious, superb individual. (Ensign, Nov 1996, 73)
Of course, we can learn more about this in the temple. After this discussion about Adam, it should come as no surprise that President Thomas S. Monson would exclaim:
I nominate to the Hall of Fame the name of Adam, the first man to live upon the earth. (Ensign, Jul 1991, 2)
A great article about Adam, “The Man Adam” by Robert L. Millet, includes the following:
Adam’s role in the eternal plan of God began in our premortal first estate. There he was known as Michael, a name which means “who is like God.” Indeed, “by his diligence and obedience there, as one of the spirit sons of God, he attained a stature and power second only to that of Christ, the Firstborn.”
The Prophet Joseph Smith thus taught that “the Priesthood was first given to Adam; he obtained the First Presidency, and held the keys of it from generation to generation. He obtained it in the Creation, before the world was formed, as in Genesis 1:26, 27, 28.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 157)
When it came time to begin our second estate, mortality, it was appropriate for God our Father to call upon Michael to receive a tabernacle of flesh and become earth’s first inhabitant. Luke’s genealogy of Jesus ends with a noble description of Adam, “the son of God” (Luke 3:38; see Moses 6:22). Adam’s name means “man” or “mankind,” and his position as the “first man of all men” (Moses 1:34) suggests the eminence of his premortal status. (Ensign, Jan 1994, 8)
Eve also a wonderful woman we need to learn more about. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism states:
Eve, first woman of earthly creation, companion of Adam, and mother and matriarch of the human race, is honored by Latter-day Saints as one of the most important, righteous, and heroic of all the human family. (see “Eve”)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie summarizes:
…there is no language that could do credit to our glorious mother Eve. (Woman, 69)
Indeed, perhaps we need go no further than canonized scripture which describes her as:
“…our glorious Mother Eve” (D&C 138:39)
President Gordon B. Hinckley painted a wonderful word picture of Eve:
And so Eve became God’s final creation, the grand summation of all of the marvelous work that had gone before. (Ensign, 2002, 82)
One of the scriptures suggested in this section (Moses 1:34) states:
And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.
One way of reading this is that there are “many” Adams. That Eve (and thus possibly Adam) are titles, as well as real people who were our first parents, is suggested by Brigham Young in one of the previous Priesthood/Relief Society manuals:
Eve was a name or title conferred upon our first mother, because she was actually to be the mother of all the human beings who should live upon this earth. (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 131)
The next-to-last sentence in this section quotes from Moses 3:18. In the rest of that verse it declares:
…wherefore, I will make an help meet for him.
In the past there has been misunderstanding about the role of husband and wife. Some have felt that since Adam was the patriarch and held the priesthood and Eve was the “helpmeet,” there was not an equal balance in this “sacred…responsibility.” For some “helpmeet” seems to connote a wife that “helps” the husband and “meets” his needs. The word “helpmeet” is actually a mistranslation.
In her book Eve and the Choice Made in Eden (an excellent resource) on, Beverly Campbell notes an article by David Freedman in Biblical Archeological Review where he writes that King James got it wrong and all other translations seemed to have followed. The two words in Hebrew translated into “helpmeet” should have been rendered (as they were dozens of other times in the Old Testament) “a power (or strength) equal to him” (p. 24).
Interestingly enough, that correction fits with what latter day prophets have counseled concerning marriage. The last sentence in this section mentions:
She [Eve] shared Adam’s responsibility and will also share his eternal blessings (p. 27).
The principle of true “sharing” is crucial to a marriage if it is to become exalted. President Marion G. Romney, of the First Presidency, declared:
They [husbands and wives] should be one in harmony, respect, and mutual consideration. Neither should plan or follow an independent course of action. They should consult, pray, and decide together.
In the management of their homes and families, husbands and wives should counsel with each other in kindness, love, patience, and understanding. (Ensign, Mar 1978, 2)
President Howard W. Hunter also stated in Conference:
The Lord intended that the wife be a helpmeet for man (meet means equal)—that is, a companion equal and necessary in full partnership. (Ensign, Nov. 1994, 49)
More recently, A Proclamation to the World declared:
In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.
THE GARDEN OF EDEN
This section is important because it helps us understand the Father’s perfect plan. As the first paragraph explains, as long as Adam and Eve remained in the Garden they could have no children and would not die. Without these two necessary things, we could have been born, much less progress. In addition, Adam and Eve were “innocent” as to things necessary to the test of mortality. From Doctrines of the Gospel Institute Student Manual, Joseph Fielding Smith said:
…under the conditions in which he was living at that time it was impossible for him [Adam] to visualize or understand the power of good and evil. He did not know what pain was. He did not know what sorrow was; and a thousand other things that have come to us in this life that Adam did not know in the Garden of Eden and could not understand and would not have known had he remained there” (p. 20).
In the Garden, God actually gave Adam and Eve three “commandments.” All are indeed commandments, but some were more than that. The first commandment discussed is “multiply and replenish the earth.” In footnote “c” to Genesis 1:28 it explains that the Hebrew translation for “replenish” should have been “fill” as was done in verse 22. This commandment has never been rescinded by the Lord.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained:
This commandment was first in sequence and first in importance. It was essential that God’s spirit children have mortal birth and an opportunity to progress toward eternal life. (Ensign, Nov. 1993, 72)
There is no need of further explanation of this commandment.
Next discussed is the commandment not to eat of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil.” This idea has produced much worrying by LDS about “two conflicting commandments.” Indeed, Adam and Eve could not have kept the first commandment (having children) unless they broke the second, as discussed in the first paragraph of this section. However, there are two things about this “commandment” which are very unique. First, God used a phrase found in no other commandment. In Moses 3:17, concerning this charge, God tells Adam and Eve:
…nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee…
Concerning that phrase, in Doctrines of the Gospel Institute Student Manual, Joseph Fielding Smith stated:
…it is the only place in all the history where we read that the Lord forbade something and yet said, ‘Nevertheless thou mayest choose for thyself.’ He never said that of any sin. (p. 20)
The second unique thing about this commandment is the phrase:
…for in the day (“time” in Abraham) thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:17, Moses 3:17, and Abraham 5:13)
Very few times in scriptures does the Lord accompany a commandment with its consequence (murder, Sabbath Day, etc).
Elder John A. Widstoe explained:
The eternal power of choice was respected by the Lord himself...it really converts the command into a warning, as much as if to say, if you do this thing, you will bring upon yourself a certain punishment, but do it if you choose.. The Lord had warned Adam and Eve of the hard battle with earth conditions if they chose to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He would not subject his son and daughter to hardship and the death of their bodies unless it be of their own choice. They must choose for themselves. (Evidences and Reconciliations, 193)
It may have been that God needed Adam and Eve to make this most important decision for themselves - - to bring evil into their world. We still make that decision every day of our lives.
Concerning commandment # 2, Joseph Fielding Smith taught:
Now this is the way I interpret that: The Lord said to Adam, here is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you want to stay here, then you cannot eat of that fruit. If you want to stay here, then I forbid you to eat it. But you may act for yourself, and you may eat of it if you want to. And if you eat it, you will die.
I see a great difference between transgressing the law and committing a sin. (Doctrines of the Gospel Institute Student Manual, 20)
Rather than just a commandment, I like to think of commandment # 2 rather as a “consequence.”
Now, what the “third commandment”? The last paragraph in this section states, “God brought Adam and Eve together in marriage…” (p. 27).
Scriptural basis for this idea can be found in the heading to Genesis Chapter 2:
Adam and Eve are married by the Lord.
In Moses 4:18, concerning his decision to eat of the forbidden fruit, Adam said:
The woman thou gavest me, and commandest that she should remain with me…
Adam may have been referring to the following charge from God:
Therefore shall a man…cleave unto his wife… (Genesis 2:24, Moses 3:24, and Abraham 5:18)
President Spencer W. Kimball stated:
Now, this man and this woman were sealed for eternity, God being the sealer. He gave to Adam his wife, Eve. (Ensign, Oct 1975, 2)
Much more than just a “commandment,” this was also the first “covenant.
We even know when the marriage took place. It was a summer marriage - - since it was before the Fall. Just a little seminary humor. I can already hear the reply out there - - “Yeah, little is right!”
In the manual it states next, “Eve yielded to the temptation and ate the fruit. When Adam learned what had happened, he chose to partake also.” (p. 28)
As explained in “Lesson 6: The Fall of Adam,” Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3:
Many religions accuse Adam and Eve of being sinful, wicked people. (p. 19)
In the wonderful article mentioned at the very top of this chapter of the blog, “The Fulness of the Gospel: The Fall of Adam and Eve,” it explains:
Most Christian churches teach that the Fall was a tragedy, that if Adam and Eve had not partaken of the forbidden fruit, they and all their posterity could now be living in immortal bliss in the Garden of Eden. (Ensign, June 2006, 48)
The blame is carried further by many Christians and the world in general, to Eve, who was the first to partake of the forbidden fruit. Elder Dallin H. Oaks commented:
Some Christians condemn Eve for her act, concluding that she and her daughters are somehow flawed by it. (Ensign, Nov. 1993)
It is my personal opinion that all of the terrible discrimination laws against women (such ownership of land, voting rights, rights to abuse, etc.), when records become available, could be traced back to Satan’s efforts to discredit Eve and all of her daughters.
Eve, for whatever reasons, chose to eat of the forbidden fruit. Prophets or scripture, as far as I know, do not give a reason for this. President James E. Faust came closest:
Spiritual intuition has its roots in the Garden of Eden. Mother Eve was caught in a dilemma. (CES Satellite Broadcast, Jan. 7, 1996)
The bottom line is we are glad ate the fruit. If there was closed circuit broadcast to the premortal world, I am sure we cheered when she partook.
Joseph Fielding Smith said it this way:
One of these days, if I ever get to where I can speak to Mother Eve, I want to thank her for tempting Adam to partake of the fruit...And when I kneel in prayer, I feel to thank Mother Eve, for if she hadn't had that influence over Adam, and if Adam had done according to the commandment first given to him, they would still be in the Garden of Eden and we would not be here at all. (Conference Report, October 1967, 122)
Elder Dallin H. Oaks commented:
It was Eve who first transgressed the limits of Eden in order to initiate the conditions of mortality. Her act, whatever its nature, was formally a transgression but eternally a glorious necessity to open the doorway toward eternal life. (Ensign, Nov. 1993)
Next, of courts, Adam partook. Elder Dallin H. Oaks said:
Adam showed his wisdom by doing the same. And thus Eve and "Adam fell that men might be" (2 Ne. 2:25). (Ensign, Nov. 1993)
It seems clear that no matter how much Adam knew or didn’t know about how to fulfill commandment # 1 and no matter how reluctant Adam was about breaking commandment # 2 or even if he saw any “conflict” between # 1 and # 2, keeping a covenant (# 3 commandment) to “cleave” unto and “remain with” his wife when his wife would be leaving the Garden was not really a tough choice. Adam did what he saw he had to do.
As stated in “Lesson 6: The Fall of Adam,” Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3, 19 this question is asked and answered:
Because we understand their transgression in its true light, how should we feel about them? (We should be deeply grateful for their willingness to make mortality possible. We see them as two of the greatest and most righteous people the earth has known.)
ADAM AND EVE’S SEPARATION FROM GOD
This section states that “Their physical condition changed as a result of their eating the forbidden fruit.” In regards to that, Joseph Fielding Smith taught:
…there had to come a change in his [Adam’s] body through the partaking of this element—whatever you want to call it, fruit—that brought blood into his body; and blood became the life of the body instead of spirit. And blood has in it the seeds of death, some mortal element. Mortality was created through the eating of the forbidden fruit. (Doctrines of the Gospel Institute Student Manual, 20-21)
As a result of partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve did indeed “die” as promised by God in “commandment” # 3. They actually died in two ways.
First, the “physical death” of Adam and Eve is discussed in this section. As mentioned previously, the seeds of death were sowed in the bodies of Adam and Eve as a result of the fruit.
Remember, a time table for their “death” was given by God with commandment # 2:
…for in the day (“time” in Abraham) thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:17, Moses 3:17, and Abraham 5:13)
The location of where this promise was given is apparently important. Joseph Fielding Smith explained:
When this earth was created, it was not according to our present time, but it was created according to Kolob’s time, for the Lord has said it was created on celestial time which is Kolob’s time. (The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual, 41)
This means that the definition of time given in 2 Peter 3:8 may help us understand. It reads:
…one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
So the day/time God referred to may have been 1,000 years. And Adam did die at the age of 930 (Genesis 5:5) - - well within the “day/time” limit.
Secondly, this section discusses their “spiritual death.” This did happen immediately when Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden and out of God’s presence.
GREAT BLESSINGS FROM THE TRANSGRESSION
In all LDS Bibles before 1978, when the Church received permission to publish a King James Bible with changes to the headings, the heading to Genesis 3 read, “Man’s Shameful Fall.”
President Joseph Fielding Smith had this to say about that phrase:
So the commentators made a great mistake when they put in the Bible at the top of page 3, as I think it is (it may not be the same page in every Bible), the statement "Man's shameful fall." (Conference Report, October 1967, 122)
At another time, President Joseph Fielding Smith said:
Well, it wasn't a shameful fall. What did Adam do? The very thing the Lord wanted him to do, and I hate to hear anybody call it a sin, for it wasn't a sin. (LDS Institute of Religion Address to Seminary and Institute Personnel, Salt Lake City, Jan. 1961
However, “shameful” pretty much sums up how most of the Christian world feels about the Fall. Therefore, this section of the lesson is very important because it teaches us that the Fall was designed by a just Father as a crucial part of His Plan.
Joseph Smith stated:
I believe in the fall of man…He [God] foreordained the fall of man…He foreordained at the same time, a plan of redemption for all mankind. (History of the Church, 4:78)
Elder Russell M. Nelson tied these two ideas together:
But before one can comprehend the atonement of Christ, one must first understand the fall of Adam. And before one can comprehend the fall of Adam, one must first understand the Creation.
These three pillars of eternity relate to one another.
The Fall was a necessary part of Heavenly Father’s plan for His children. (Ensign, Aug 1991, 5)
In Conference, Elder Boyd K. Packer taught:
Elder Orson F. Whitney described the Fall as having “a twofold direction—downward, yet forward. It brought man into the world and set his feet upon progression’s highway. (Ensign, Nov 1993, 21)
President Joseph Fielding Smith also gave his testimony about the blessings of the Fall:
When Adam was driven out of the Garden of Eden, the Lord passed a sentence upon him. Some people have looked upon that sentence as being a dreadful thing. It was not; it was a blessing. I do not know that it can truthfully be considered even as a punishment in disguise. …
The fall of man came as a blessing in disguise, and was the means of furthering the purposes of the Lord in the progress of man, rather than a means of hindering them. (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:113–14).
Another time Joseph Fielding Smith proclaimed:
The “fall” of Adam and Eve was not a sin but an essential act upon which mortality depends. (Answers to Gospel Questions, 5:15)
More than semantics, there seems to be a vast difference in explaining Adam and Eve’s partaking of the forbidden fruit as a transgression and not as a sin.
From the article mentioned at the top of the blog, President Joseph Fielding Smith said:
I never speak of the part Eve took in this fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin. … This was a transgression of the law, but not a sin … for it was something that Adam and Eve had to do! (Ensign, Jun 2006, 48)
This seemed apparent to Joseph Smith when he composed Article of Faith #2:
We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.
Also from the article mentioned at the top of the blog Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a lawyer well versed in the legalities of semantics, observed:
This suggested contrast between a sin and a transgression reminds us of the careful wording in the second article of faith: ‘We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression’ (emphasis added). It also echoes a familiar distinction in the law. Some acts, like murder, are crimes because they are inherently wrong. Other acts, like operating without a license, are crimes only because they are legally prohibited. Under these distinctions, the act that produced the Fall was not a sin—inherently wrong—but a transgression—wrong because it was formally prohibited. These words are not always used to denote something different, but this distinction seems meaningful in the circumstances of the Fall.
(Ensign, 1993, 72)
Brigham Young further explained:
How did Adam and Eve sin? Did they come out in direct opposition to God and to his government? No. But they transgressed a command of the Lord, and through that transgression sin came into the world. The Lord knew they would do this, and he had designed that they should. (Discourses of Brigham Young, 103)
Elder Russell M. Nelson helps us understand a scriptural comment concerning this:
Happily for them, "the Lord said unto Adam [and Eve 26]: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden" (Moses 6:53). (Ensign, Nov. 1993)
That the Fall was indeed a great blessing is explained by Elder Russell M. Nelson:
We and all mankind are forever blessed because of Eve's great courage and wisdom. By partaking of the fruit first, she did what needed to be done. Adam was wise enough to do likewise. Accordingly, we could speak of the fall of Adam in terms of a mortal creation, because "Adam fell that men might be" (2 Ne. 2:25). (Ensign, Nov. 1993)
A discussion of Moses 5:10-11 should leave little doubt as to the blessings Adam and Eve saw in looking backward to the Fall.
It may be important to better understand the power Adam and Eve had in being together. Together they were the lone couple in the Garden of Eden and together they were cast out to begin this earth.
President Spencer W. Kimball explained:
He [God] intended that all men should live worthy to have performed this ordinance of marriage for time and all eternity. The Lord has said that in order to obtain the highest of the three heavens or degrees of glory in the celestial kingdom, “a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];(D&C 131:2). (Ensign, Oct 1975, 2)
Note that President Kimball tied together two very important principles, everlasting marriage and Godhood.
Genesis 5:2 (Moses 6:9) reads:
…and [God] called their name Adam…
The important principle of unity of the Godhead is very closely related to the unity required of a husband and wife sealed for eternity. Elder Erastus Snow, an apostle, after quoting the above scripture, explained:
I sometimes illustrate this matter by taking up a pair of shears, if I have one, but then you all know they are composed of two halves, but they are necessarily parts, one of another, and to perform their work for each other, as designed, they belong together, and neither one of them is fitted for the accomplishment of their works alone. And for this reason says St. Paul, "the man is not without the woman, nor the woman without the man in the Lord." In other words, there can be no God except he is composed of the man and woman united, and there is not in all the eternities that exist, nor ever will be, a God in any other way. I have another description: There never was a God, and there never will be in all eternities, except they are made of these two component parts; a man and a woman; the male and the female. (Journal of Discourses, 19:271-2)
So not only are husbands and wives to be united as Zion should be:
…of one heart and one mind… (Moses 7:18)
and as disciples of Jesus Christ are commanded to be:
I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine. (D&C 38:27)
but even more so in an intimate, wonderful eternal way as are Our Father and Mother in Heaven.
Class members could certainly now be encouraged to attend the temple and learn more about this lesson.