Adam and Eve were created by God and lived in the Garden of Eden. I have no questions about those biblical teachings. My questions concern the commandments given to Adam and Eve. As most of us understand, God performed the marriage ceremony for Adam and Eve and commanded them to be “fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:26-28; see also Genesis 2:24).
After Adam and Eve were married, God placed them in the Garden of Eden. Then He commanded them, “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: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).
Satan appeared first to Adam in an attempt to convince him to partake of the fruit of the tree of good and evil, but Adam rejected him. Satan then went to Eve. He told her that she would not die but would be like the Gods, knowing good and evil. (See Genesis 3:4-5.) Eve listened to Satan, partook of the fruit and gave some to Adam. They were kicked out of the garden and did eventually die.
My question was, “Why did Heavenly Father tell Adam and Eve not to partake of the fruit of the tree of good and evil?” I always knew that He had good reason for doing so, but I did not have understanding. One day while pondering the whole Adam and Eve thing once again, and I came up with following comprehension.
Heavenly Father has a general plan for the eternal happiness of all His spirit children. The creation of Adam and Eve and their children was part of His plan. Adam and Eve could not have children in their terrestrial life in the garden. There had to be a change come over their bodies in order for them to have children. They had to become mortal! Satan did not understand Heavenly Father’s plan, but maybe he was honest when he said that there was no other way!
I had a difficult time understanding why God would command Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit if they needed to eat it to become mortal. Then I remembered the scripture in Abraham where we find the description of the spiritual creation of the earth. “And … we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abraham 24-25).
This was the answer to my question about Adam and Eve. I believe that Heavenly Father gave contradicting commandments to Adam and Eve in order for them to use their agency. They had to have the opportunity to choose between good and evil and whether or not they would obey; they had to “prove” their obedience to God.
Heavenly Father knew that they had to become mortal in order to keep the first commandment about multiplying and replenishing the earth. I feel certain that He had a plan for how they could become mortal, but He first wanted to give them a chance to prove that He could trust them to be obedient. Because He knows everything, He already knew what would happen, but He had to give them the choice. They had to have the opportunity to prove themselves obedient to His commandments.
We all know the story. Adam was obedient and rejected the temptation of Satan, but Eve was “beguiled” by Satan and partook of the fruit. When Adam knew that Eve had eaten the fruit and would be kicked out of the garden, he pondered the situation. He understood that they could not the first commandment if she left, and he partook of the fruit. He disobeyed the lesser commandment in order to obey the greater the commandment to “cling” to his wife and “multiply and replenish” the earth.
Mortality is a time for all of us to be tested, tried, and proved. Heavenly Father continues to try us to see if He can trust us to “do all things whatsoever” He commands. I understand that the “bigger” the person the bigger the trial. Two examples are Abraham’s experience with sacrificing Isaac, and Heavenly Father’s experience of watching helplessly as His Son atoned for our sins.
Satan continues to tempt all of us in an effort to get us on his side of the line. Are we as obedient as Adam, or are we deceived as Eve was? Are we passing or failing our tests? I know that we must put our trust in God and know that He has a plan for our happiness, both generally and as individuals.