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Adam & Eve - The Fall

Biblical Framework

Creation and Communication
God the Father worked through Jesus Christ to create the earth (Hebrews 1:1-2), and together they created man (Genesis 1:26). God (“Lord God”—the term for God in the first three chapters of Genesis) in the beginning communicated directly with Adam and Eve to provide instruction and guidance (Genesis 3:9,13).

Two Commandments
Adam and Eve were told by God to multiply and replenish the earth (Genesis 1:28) and to eat not of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). While it is possible other commandments may have been given, these two are recorded in the Bible specifically.

Eve is Beguiled, Adam Follows, Death Comes
Satan by way of the serpent beguiled Eve in the Garden of Eden, and she ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:4-6). The serpent did not then beguile Adam (1 Timothy 2:14), but rather Eve’s decision was observed by Adam. Eve gave Adam the fruit and Adam chose to eat of the fruit (Genesis 3:6). From Adam and Eve’s transgression came physical and spiritual death—ultimately resolved by the Atonement of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:12-17).

Innocence Lost
Before eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve felt no shame and were unaware they were naked (Genesis 2:25). After eating of the tree, they lost their innocence, felt shame in nakedness (Genesis 3:7), and were cast out of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:23). After being cast out of the Garden, Adam with Eve had sexual intercourse and Eve conceived their first-born son, Cain (Genesis 4:1).

Plan of Salvation Commenced
Jesus was ordained Savior before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:19-20, John 17:24, and Ephesians 1:3-5). God the Father, knowing all, knew there would be a need for redemption long before events in the Garden of Eden transpired.

The Fall brought about both physical and spiritual death, but the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ brought hope to all mankind that they might also be resurrected and returned to the presence of Heavenly Father (1 Corinthians 15:22).

Despite its introduction of physical and spiritual death, the Fall constituted the commencement of Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation. The plan includes men and women coming to the earth as mortal beings having the hope of eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:44-45), having the opportunity to gain the knowledge of and the ability to choose between good and evil (Genesis 3:22), and having the opportunity to be saved by the divine sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Direct Communication Ceases
In the first three chapters of Genesis, God is referred to as “Lord God”. Thereafter, God is referred to as “Lord”. It is the “Lord God” who speaks directly to Adam and Eve in the Garden. It is the “Lord” who speaks to them outside the Garden (see Genesis 4:6, 6:3, and so forth). Thus begins the role of Jesus Christ as the great mediator (1 Timothy 2:5).

Mormon Doctrinal Clarification

Premortal Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve were valiant spirits in the premortal existence, and they were given the assignment to be the first man and woman on earth. When they assumed their places in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had physical bodies; however, they were not yet mortal: their bodies were not subject to death. It was part of Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation that Adam and Eve should enter into mortality by their own choice.

Memory Lost
God was with Adam and Eve in the Garden, as he had been in the premortal existence, but Adam and Eve had no memory of their prior existence and they had no comprehension of good and evil. They did not know who they were or what role they were destined to play in the plan of salvation.

The Fall
God gave Adam and Eve two key commandments: (1) multiply and replenish the earth and (2) eat not of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Satan entered the Garden of Eden to tempt Adam and Eve to join him in rebellion against God and thus disrupt the plan of salvation. When Adam learned that Satan had persuaded Eve to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he chose to do likewise and be cast out of the Garden with her. Had he not made this choice, he would have remained immortal—and alone in the Garden, separated from Eve and incapable of producing offspring.

The Choice
Adam chose mortality, offspring, advancing physical infirmity, and ultimately physical death: He chose the cycle of mortal existence. Thus Adam and Eve took their first steps in fulfilling Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation. There were not compelled in these things, but they were part of the plan nonetheless.

Cast Out
As a result of the fall, Adam and Eve became subject to the consequences of their transgression: They were cast out of the Garden of Eden, became mortal beings, and were consigned to live in a world much different from the Garden. In this world, Adam and Eve and all their descendants would be subject to suffering and physical death. The trial and training of mortality had begun.

The Fall made Adam and Eve and their descendants subject to physical and spiritual death. Physical death is separation of the spirit from the body. Spiritual death is separation from God. Satan works to keep men confined in both forms of death. Jesus Christ, through his Atonement, enables mankind to be freed from both kinds of death and, through repentance, to return to Heavenly Father.

The Plan of Salvation
Despite the introduction of physical and spiritual death and its consequences, the Fall constituted the commencement of Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation. This commencement was a great blessing to all mankind. This blessing included the obtaining of physical bodies of flesh and bone, the ability to know and to choose freely between good and evil, and the opportunity to take part in the unfolding of the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Had Adam and Eve remained innocent and immortal in the Garden, they would not have been players in the great drama that was to unfold on earth. Their mortal training would never have occurred. The Atonement of Christ would have been unnecessary. Mortal men and women would never have been.

Original Sin
Adam and Eve are accountable for their transgression and the fall; their offspring are not. However, their offspring do inherit the consequences of the fall, including all the blessings and hardships of mortality. Men and women are accountable for their own transgressions in mortality, not for those of Adam and Eve.

See chapter 2 in The Biblical Roots of Mormonism for a more comprehensive explanation, scriptural references and commentary on Adam and Eve

See the following Sword SeriesTM papers for summaries:

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