President Ezra Taft Benson once said that no one understands their need for the Savior until they understand the Fall of Adam and Eve. Since that is the topic of today’s post, I hope both you and I understand their fall better so that we will appreciate the Atonement of Jesus Christ more. The Creation, the Fall of Adam and Eve, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ are the three great “pillars” of eternity. Each of them played an important in the great plan of salvation.
Jesus Christ and His associated created this beautiful earth. After forming and organizing the earth from some available matter, after separating the land from the darkness, after separating the light from the darkness and hanging the sun, moon, and stars, in the sky, after planting the millions of plants to make the world beautiful, and after creating all the animals, birds, insects, and fish – after all these creations, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ created Adam and Eve.
Heavenly Father chose Adam and Eve to be the first people to live on the earth (see Pearl of Great Price, Moses 1:34). Their mission on earth was to bring mortality into the world and to become the first parents on earth (Doctrine and Covenants 107:54-56).
Why did God choose Adam and Eve for this great mission? They were some of the noblest of all Heavenly Father’s spirit children. Adam was called Michael the Archangel (see Doctrine and Covenants 27:11; Jude 9). He was chosen by Heavenly Father to lead the righteous in the battle against Satan (see Revelation 12:7-9). Eve was chosen to be the helpmeet of Adam. They were foreordained to become the parents of the human race on earth.
Even though the scriptures are silent about Eve before she entered the Garden of Eden, I believe that we can safely assume that she was a choice daughter of God. Adam called his wife Eve “because she was the mother of all living” (Moses 4:26). She was given to Adam by God because God said that “it was not good that man should be alone” (Moses 3:18). As Adam’s wife and helpmeet, Eve shared his responsibility then and will share his eternal blessings.
Adam and Eve were not yet mortal when they were placed in the Garden of Eden. They could not have children. They did not know about good and evil. They could not die. According to Elder Bruce R. McConkie, they had physical life because they had physical bodies made from the dust of the earth (see Abraham 5:7). They also had spiritual life because they lived in the presence of God.
Heavenly Father performed their marriage ceremony and commanded them to have children and to manage the resources of the earth. He said, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Moses 2:28). God gave them permission to eat from every tree in the Garden of Eden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He told them they would die if they ate from that tree” (Moses 3:17).
Satan did not know God’s entire plan for His children and thought he could destroy the work of God by tempting Adam and Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit. He lied to Eve when he told her that she would not die, but he was honest when he told her that she would “be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Moses 4:11). Eve yielded to Satan’s temptation and partook of the fruit. Adam was not deceived. When he understood that Eve had partaken of the fruit and would be kicked out of the Garden of Eden, Adam chose to partake of the fruit also. Something in the fruit changed their bodies into mortal bodies. The event is called the fall of Adam.
God forced Adam and Eve to leave the Garden of Eden because they partook of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They then entered the world that we know, one much different than the Garden of Eden. Their new physical condition was mortality. They could have children, and they and their children could experience the problems of mortality – sickness, pain, and physical death.
Because of their fall, Adam and Eve also experienced spiritual death. This means that they could no longer walk and talk with God face to face. After their fall, Adam and Eve were separated from God both physically and spiritually.
Some people believe that Adam and Eve committed serious sin by eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Latter-day scriptures tell us that the Fall of Adam and Eve was actually a fall forward. It was a necessary step in God’s plan for His children; it was also a great blessing for all mankind. Remember, Adam and Eve could not have children in the Garden of Eden: if they had not partaken of the fruit, none of us would even be here. Our blessings include physical bodies, the right to use our agency in choosing good or evil, and the opportunity to gain eternal life. We would have none of these blessings if Adam and Eve were still in the Garden of Eden.
Eve understood at least some of the changes that took place because she said, “Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed [children], 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 5:11).
Lehi, an ancient American prophet, also understood and explained: “And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen [been cut off from the presence of God], 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 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” (Book of Mormon – Another Witness of Jesus Christ, 2 Nephi 2:22-25).
I personally am grateful for courage of Adam and Eve in eating of the fruit. Eve was deceived by Satan, but she did what had to be done. Adam was not deceived but intentionally chose to stay with Eve. Together, they made it possible for us to receive physical bodies, gain necessary experience, and prepare to return to Heavenly Father’s presence. I look forward to the day when I have an opportunity to thank Mother Eve for her great gift to all her posterity!