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Adam and Eve

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Adam and Eve mormon
The Latter-day Saint attitude regarding Adam and Eve differs from all other religions (see Adam, Plan of Salvation, and Fall). One of the Mormon Church's Standard Works, the Pearl of Great Price Book of Moses, elaborates on the creation story. Modern revelation gives added information, as does the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants.

Doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds that a plan providing for the exaltation of man was established by God the Father before the foundation of the world. Heavenly Father was the creator of the spirits of men (see Pre-Mortal Life), who dwelt with Him before they were born as mortals upon the earth. Mortality is designed to be a period of testing, and "opposition in all things" is necessary to provide men with choices and guarantee their agency:

For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, ...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 (2 Nephi 2:11).

Therefore, it was necessary to provide opposition for Adam and Eve while they dwelt in the Garden of Eden. They had to have choices in order to allow them to exercise agency. God knew they would fall. He had given them two opposing commandments: 1) to multiply and replenish the earth, and 2) not to eat the forbidden fruit. Partaking of the fruit from the tree of the "knowledge of good and evil" would lead to their banishment from the garden and a fall from a paradisiacal condition to a corruptible state. While in the garden, they were immortal and unchanging, unable to conceive or bear children. Only after the fall were they able to keep the first commandment.

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 (2 Nephi 2:15).
In the Garden of Eden, God commanded, "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Moses 3:16–17).

If Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.[1]

And [Adam and Eve] would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.
Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall" (2 Nephi 2:22–26; see also 2 Nephi 2:19–21, 27).

Latter-day Saints believe that the "fall" of Adam and Eve was a necessary and paramount milestone in the Plan of Salvation, and that the eternal plan provided for a Savior, Jesus Christ, to redeem mankind from the fall. Latter-day Saints believe Adam and Eve filled a great and difficult calling as the first man and woman, and that gratitude is due them because they fell. Eve expressed her gratitude for the fall, although her life became considerably more difficult because of it:

Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: 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 I shall see God.
And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient" (Moses 5:10-11).

President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972), Tenth President of the Church, said the following:

Adam did only what he had to do. He partook of that fruit for one good reason, and that was to open the door to bring you and me and everyone else into this world, for Adam and Eve could have remained in the Garden of Eden; they could have been there to this day, if Eve hadn’t done something.
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. He accepted the temptation, with the result that children came into this world. … 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. We wouldn’t have come into this world. So the commentators made a great mistake when they put in the Bible … “man’s shameful fall.”
Well, that was what the Lord expected Adam to do, because that opened the door to mortality; and we came here into this mortal world to receive a training in mortality that we could not get anywhere else or in any other way. We came here into this world to partake of all the vicissitudes, to receive the lessons that we receive in mortality from or in a mortal world. And so we become subject to pain, to sickness. We are blessed for keeping the commandments of the Lord with all that He has given us, which, if we will follow and be true and faithful, will bring us back again into the presence of God our Eternal Father, as sons and daughters of God, entitled to the fulness of celestial glory.[2]

Latter-day Saints consider Adam and Eve to be among the most noble of God's sons and daughters. Adam was the archangel Michael in the pre-mortal world, who fought against the minions of Satan, and he will defeat Satan again after the millennium. Eve is his equal and is sealed to him in marriage for eternity. They prayerfully taught their posterity and communed with God all their days. They bore and raised children with no earthly example of parenting and established the pattern of family life for all future beings on the earth.

Eve was Adam’s “help meet” (Genesis 2:18). The original Hebrew for meet means that Eve was adequate for, or equal to, Adam. She wasn’t his servant or his subordinate. And the Hebrew for help in “help meet” is ezer, a term meaning that Eve drew on heavenly powers when she supplied their marriage with the spiritual instincts uniquely available to women as a gender gift.
Genesis 3:16 states that Adam is to “rule over” Eve, but this doesn’t make Adam a dictator. A ruler can be a measuring tool that sets standards. Then Adam would live so that others may measure the rightness of their conduct by watching his. Being a ruler is not so much a privilege of power as an obligation to practice what a man preaches. Also, over in “rule over” uses the Hebrew bet, which means ruling with, not ruling over. If a man does exercise “dominion … in any degree of unrighteousness” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:37), God terminates that man’s authority.[3]

The Church employs Adam and Eve's example as a type for the desirable relationship between a husband and wife:

Perhaps because false teachings had twisted original scriptural meanings, President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) preferred “preside” rather than “rule.” He said: “No woman has ever been asked by the Church authorities to follow her husband into an evil pit. She is to follow him [only] as he follows and obeys the Savior of the world, but in deciding [whether he is obeying Christ], she should always be sure she is fair.” In this way, President Kimball saw marriage “as a full partnership,” stating, “We do not want our LDS women to be silent partners or limited partners” but rather “a contributing and full partner.” [4]

References

  1. Gospel Library:Gospel Topics:Fall of Adam
  2. Joseph Fielding Smith, “Adam’s Role in Bringing Us Mortality,” Liahona, Jan 2006, 8–9.
  3. Bruce C. Hafen and Marie K. Hafen, “Crossing Thresholds and Becoming Equal Partners,” Ensign, Aug 2007, 24–29.
  4. Ibid.

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