The Fall of Man

12 Oct

What we know from the Bible:
Genesis 2: 16-17 tells us that while in the Garden, Adam and Eve were told that they could eat of every tree except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Genesis 2: 25 we are told that while in the Garden, Adam and Eve were naked, and were not ashamed. Or in other words, they did not understand right and wrong, or Good and Evil. They were innocent.
Genesis 3 tells us the majority of the story concerning the Fall.
Verses 1-5 we have the beguiling of the serpant. How he tempted Eve telling her that if she ate she would be as god, having a knowledge of Good and Evil.
Verse 6 she conciders what the serpant says and eats of the fruit, then gives to Adam and he eats.
Verses 7-9 we have the change that was wrought in them, their eyes being open and knowing the shame of their nakedness. They no longer were ignorant, but knew Good and Evil. They had lost their innocence.
Verses 10-13 we see Adam passing the blame to Eve, who then passes it to the Serpant.
Verse 14 is the curse placed on the serpant. Before this time he either had legs or wings, as he was now cursed to go on his belly.
Verse 15 at first appears to be more of a curse on the serpant, but it is actually a curse on satan and a prophecy of the Atonement (Christ being the seed of the woman whose heel was bruised on the cross).
Verses 16-21 seem to be curses placed upon Eve, and than Adam. Pain and suffereing, as well as hard work.
Verses 22-24 tell us that Adam and Eve did indeed become like Gods, know Good and Evil (just as the serpant, or satan had said) and to prevent them from becoming immortal they were thrust out of the Garden and the Tree of Life Guarded.
Romans 5: 12 tells us that sin and death are the result of the fall.
1 Corinthians 15: 22 confirms this, also adding that Christ can save us from death.
2 Corinthians 11: 3 it is warned that it is by subtley that Eve was beguiled, and by subltey that we are beguiled.
1 Timothy 2: 14 we are informed that Adam was not deceived in partaking of the fruit, but Eve was, and so in her was the original sin.
These are all the references from the Bible reguarding the Fall of Man.
What do we learn from all this? Taking the reference from Timothy we can infer one of two things. Either Adam knew what he was doing when Eve offered him the fruit, or he was tempted first and did not succumb. The first possibility does not go along with what is said in Genesis 2:25 where we are told they did not have this knowledge, and were innocent. So the second must be true. Satan first tried to get Adam to eat of the fruit. He was not deceived, and did not eat. So satan than tempted Eve who ate, and then gave to her husband. The actual events that followed are given fairly well in Genesis 3.
We are told strait out that sin came into the world through the Fall of Adam, and from sin death. We are also told that we are redeemed from the Fall through Christ. Note that no where in the Bible does it call Adam’s actions a sin, only that the result was sin entering the world.
Besides the actual events, and this effect, what else do we get from the Bible. Not much. There is really nothing else stated directly in any of these verses. Some questions are left unanswered. Such as these:
Could Adam and Eve have children in the Garden?
What was God’s plan for them while in the Garden?
Why did God prevent them from eating of the Tree of Life which would have restored their immortality?
If Adam was not dedeived by the Devil, why was he deceived by Eve, or was he deceived by Eve?
The fourth question given I think we can answer with a little logic. In Timothy Paul tells us that Adam was not deceived. It does not say he was not deceived by satan, but was by Eve. It simply says that he was not deceived. (This may sound like a contradiction of a previous statement. However, when that statement was made we were only considering what was stated directly, not what could be seen through careful study.) So, Adam is not deceived, but Eve is and eats. She then tells Adam what she did. Adam is now faced with a dilemma. God has commanded him not to eat of the Fruit of this tree, but he has also commanded him to be fruitful and replenish the earth (See Genesis chapter 1). He knows that Eve cannot stay in the Garden. If he obeys the one command he will remain and how can he and Eve be fruitful. But, in order to be fruitful he must disobey the other. So, because he loves his wife Eve and does not wish to be separated from her, he eats so they will be cast out together. He was not deceived by anyone. He knew exactly what he was doing, but without understanding that it was wrong, or wicked, as he was innocent (much as a child makes a decission based on known consequences without understand the moral nature of it).
The other three questions cannot truly be answered through the Bible. It does not tell us what God had planned for in the Garden, nor does it tell us if they could bare children. However, there are still many who try to make the Bible answer these questions.
They will say that they could have had children. The reason being that God obviously intended them to, having commanded them to be fruitful. They take the curse in Genesis 3 to mean that child birth would have been painless in the Garden. While this is understandable, I would point out that verse 16 of chapter 3 states “Unto the woman he 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.” Her conception was to be multiplied, meaning she was to have more children. Now, why would God curse here with more children for her disobedience? To me this makes no sense.
As to the plan, people do not generally offer an explanation as to what that was, simply that we should all have lived in paradise, and that that was Gods plan. I would than ask “What was the point in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?” to be answered that Adam and Eve had to have a choice. Another question to ask is “If God wanted us all to be born and live in the Garden why would he have let the fall happen?” Or “Why did he just not simply create a new man and woman who would obey his commands?” These questions cannot be answered. If God intended for us to stay in the Garden than the Fall would prove that his plans can be frustrated, thus making him no longer all powerful. However, I would agree that the Bible makes the belief sound possible.
With no clear answer to these two very important questions to be found in the Bible, where do we find them? A clear picture of the Fall is given to us in the Book of Mormon. There are several points concerning the Fall that we know from the Bible that are confirmed by the Book of Mormon.
Sin and Death come from the fall: 1 Nephi 10: 6; 2 Nephi 9: 6; Mosiah 3: 16, 19; Alma 12: 22; 34: 9; 42: 6-7, 9; Helamen 14: 16; Mormon 9: 12; Ether 3: 2.
Fall was caused by the beguiling of Adam and Eve by the Serpant: Mosiah 16: 3.
Christ saves men from the fall: 2 Nephi 2: 4; Mosiah 3: 11; 4: 7; Mosiah 16: 14.
Now, besides this confirmation of that which is taught in the Bible, the Book of Mormon offers a few more points that clear up all confusion.
First, in 2 Nephi chapter two we are given the greatest discourse on the Fall ever recorded.
Why were they prevented from eating of the Tree of Life? In verse 21 we are told he did this to give us all a chance to repent. He lengthened our years, preventing Adam and Eve from partaking of the Tree of Life so that they, and all that were born to them, would havethe chance to repent of all sins. As it says, we are on probation, or in a probationary state. If Adam and Eve had Eaten of the Tree of Life they would have been condemned to hell. Knowing this God thrust them from the Garden and guarded the Tree of Life so that we all have the chance to repent and be saved.
Could they have had children while in the Garden? In verses 22-25 it tells us quite plainly that they could not have. They were in an eternal state, with nothing changing. They were innocent of all things. In these verses the last question is also answered. What was God’s plan for them while in the Garden? This tells us that his plan was to have them fall. They were not meant to remain in the Garden, in that state of innocence. This also clears the confusion as to how God’s plan could have been frustrated by the fall. As God not only knew it would happed, but had planned for it, we see that satan can do nothing against God, and actually assists in his ignorance.
One has said the if this was God’s plan than all the evil in the world can be blamed on God. This is most illogical. The same argument is made that if God created all men is he not to blame for their wickedness. To this people will always say that God gives us our agency and is not responsible for what we do with it. I agree, and the same logic applies to this understanding of the Fall. To show this even clearer I will quote from 2 Nephi 2: 11 which tells us “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.” God does good because there is evil. God can no more prevent evil than he could stop doing good. If there is no evil there is no good, therefore there is no God.
Now, the same man said that in commanding Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit, yet intending them too, is deceitful. I would contend otherwise. In the same chapter of 2 Nephi this logic is applied to the Fall (verses 15-16) “And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter. Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.” God had to give men a choice. I believe this command was given because God knew the pain and suffering that would result. He loved Adam and Eve, and so he warned them of the consequences. Just as any father worries about his children, and warns them of what the world is like, knowing that they will have to leave home some day. While it was necessary God did not want his children to suffer. So he warned them. He gave them a choice. He also knew that if they had not been warned, if they did not have that opposition, than he would not be justified in thrusting them out when they ate the fruit. You cannot justly punish a person for a crime committed in ignorance.

From the Bible we know that the fall happened, and that it was Eve who truly caused it. We also know how it happened, and that death and sin are the results.
From the Book of Mormon we know why it happened, and how it is truly the greatest blessing to all of God’s children, next to salvation.


2 Responses to “The Fall of Man”

  1. Short Sales Agent Wilmington N. Carolina October 29, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    I was recommended this website by means of my cousin. I’m now not sure whether this post is written by means of him as no one else realize such special approximately my trouble. You are amazing! Thank you!

    • shematwater October 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

      I am not your cousin, however. I have not spoken to any of my cousins in a good many years, and likely would not recognize any of them if I met them.
      I cannot speak to your troubles, but I am grateful that my words have brought some comfort and help to others.
      I actually wrote this as a part of a short book I was planning about ten years ago, but life took me away from that project. When I started this blog I started going back through all the various things I had written on the gospel and other religious topics and came across this. I thought it fairly good, and something told me to put it on my blog. I thought it was too long, but I just couldn’t bring myself to cut anything out.

      It is nice to know that I have reached some people, and to know that, in some ways at least, I am being guided by the Lord.

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