[As usual, all the really good questions you’ve heard before because I lifted them right out of Jim’s lesson.]
–I have many unanswered questions about the Fall and its aftermath. . .
–. . . which makes me feel like an idiot until I remember something that Elder Boyd K. Packer wrote:
I can remember President McKay in his advanced years, on an occasion when he stood in the temple among the Brethren and quoted the temple ceremony at great length. Just quoted it, and explained it. Then finally he stopped, clasped his large hands together, and stood silent for a little while. Then he said, “Brethren, I think I am finally beginning to understand.â€? (Boyd K. Packer, Things of the Soul, page 217.)
(a) v5: â€˜subtleâ€™ translates a Hebrew word that means prudent, crafty, or sly.
(b) V6: â€˜beguileâ€™ translates a Hebrew word that is usually translated â€˜deceiveâ€™ but has the underlying meaning of â€˜to lend on interest or to be a creditor.â€™
–Ask: What do you learn about Satan from this account?
(a) He doesnâ€™t know the mind of God (v6). Point out that the Fall was not a mistake or a sin.11
(b) By asking a question (v7) he creates doubt.
(c) V10: parsing and semantics. They donâ€™t physically die, but in a sense they die spiritually. Mixture of truths and lies is one of Satanâ€™s hallmarks.
–Ask: What do you make of the addition â€œneither shall ye touch itâ€? which was not a part of the original commandment (cf. 3:17)?
–What do you make of the fact that, apparently, Eve was not present when the command was given (cf. 3:17 with 3:22)?
–V21: Why enmity between the Woman and the serpent rather than between the couple and the serpent? What does it mean to say that there is enmity between the serpentâ€™s children and the children of the Woman? Why does the Lord say â€œher seedâ€? rather than â€œtheir seedâ€?? How is this verse relevant to your life?
–Note: President Kimball said that he preferred the word â€œpresideâ€? to â€œruleâ€? in v22.
–Note that the serpent is cursed; Adam and Eve are not. If what the Lord says to Adam and the Woman isnâ€™t a curse, what is it? Is it a blessing? If so, how so? (I consider v22 to be the divine version of What to Expect When You Are Expecting.)
–Hugh Nibleyâ€™s explanation of the new relationship between Adam and Eve:
There is no patriarchy or matriarchy in the Garden; the two supervise each other. Adam is given no arbitrary power; Eve is to heed him only insofar as he obeys their Fatherâ€”and who decides that? She must keep check on him as much as he does on her. It is, if you will, a system of checks and balances in which each party is as distinct and independent in its sphere as are the departments of government under the Constitutionâ€”and just as dependent on each other. (Hugh Nibley, “Patriarchy and Matriarchy,” Old Testament and Related Studies, page 92f.)
–V27: The word translated â€œcoatsâ€? means â€œcoverings.â€? Why did the Lord need to replace the coverings Adam and Eve had made for themselves? Cf. v13. What might the aprons Adam and Eve made when they first discovered their nakedness indicate? What might the replacement of those aprons with coverings from the Lord indicate?
–Read Moses 5:1-15, looking at it as a template for family life.
–Ask: What do you learn about the ideal family life from this passage?
1. She labored beside her companion (see Moses 5:1).
2. She and Adam bore the responsibilities of parenthood (see Moses 5:2).
3. She and her partner worshiped the Lord in prayer (see Moses 5:4).
4. She and Adam heeded divine commandments of obedience and sacrifice (see Moses 5:5, 6).
5. She and her husband taught the gospel to their children (see Moses 5:12).
(this list is from Elder Nelson)
–Moses 5:6 is one of my favorites: cf. 1 Nephi 11:16-18 for another example of a humble acknowledgement of incomplete knowledge (accompanied by a willingness to obey) followed by new revelation.
–Adam and Eve were reflective: v10 and 11.
We talk about how it is necessary to understand the Fall so that we can understand the Atonement. How would you explain the Atonement in terms of the Fall?
Here’s a list of supplementary statements about the Fall that might be useful. I can provide the citations if anyone wants them.
â€œIt was Eve who first transgressed the limits of Eden in order to initiate the conditions of mortality. Her act, whatever its nature, was formally a transgression but eternally a glorious necessity to open the doorway toward eternal life. Adam showed his wisdom by doing the same. And thus Eve and â€œAdam fell that men might beâ€? (2 Ne. 2:25). Some Christians condemn Eve for her act, concluding that she and her daughters are somehow flawed by it. Not the Latter-day Saints! Informed by revelation, we celebrate Eveâ€™s act and honor her wisdom and courage in the great episode called the Fall. Joseph Smith taught that it was not a â€œsin,â€? because God had decreed it. Brigham Young declared, â€œWe should never blame Mother Eve, not the least.â€? Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said: â€œI never speak of the part Eve took in this fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin. â€¦ This was a transgression of the law, but not a sin â€¦ for it was something that Adam and Eve had to do!â€? This suggested contrast between a sin and a transgression reminds us of the careful wording in the second article of faith: â€œWe believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adamâ€™s transgressionâ€? (emphasis added). It also echoes a familiar distinction in the law. Some acts, like murder, are crimes because they are inherently wrong. Other acts, like operating without a license, are crimes only because they are legally prohibited. Under these distinctions, the act that produced the Fall was not a sinâ€”inherently wrongâ€”but a transgressionâ€”wrong because it was formally prohibited. These words are not always used to denote something different, but this distinction seems meaningful in the circumstances of the Fall. Modern revelation shows that our first parents understood the necessity of the Fall. Adam declared, â€œBlessed 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 Godâ€? (Moses 5:10). Note the different perspective and the special wisdom of Eve, who focused on the purpose and effect of the great plan of happiness: â€œWere 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 obedientâ€? (Moses 5:11). In his vision of the redemption of the dead, President Joseph F. Smith saw â€œthe great and mighty onesâ€? assembled to meet the Son of God, and among them was â€œour glorious Mother Eveâ€? (D&C 138:38-39).â€?
â€“Elder Dallin H. Oaks
â€œAdam and Eve did the very thing the Lord intended them to do. If we had the original record we would see the purpose of the Fall clearly stated and its necessity explained.â€?
â€”President Joseph Fielding Smith
â€œAs He concludes this statement he says, â€œand thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.â€? (Gen. 3:16.) I have a question about the word rule. It gives the wrong impression. I would prefer to use the word preside because thatâ€™s what he does. A righteous husband presides over his wife and family. . . . No woman has ever been asked by the Church authorities to follow her husband into an evil pit. She is to follow him as he follows and obeys the Savior of the world, but in deciding this, she should always be sure she is fair.
â€“President Spencer W. Kimball
â€œBut I never counseled a women to follow her husband to the Devil.â€?
â€“President Brigham Young
â€œWhen we speak of marriage as a partnership, let us speak of marriage as a full partnership. We do not want our LDS women to be silent partners or limited partners in that eternal assignment! Please be a contributing and full partner.â€?
â€“President Spencer W. Kimball
â€œEve was [Adamâ€™s] equalâ€”a full, powerfully contributing partner.â€?
â€“Elder Richard G. Scott
â€œZebedee Coltrain remembered that he and Oliver Cowdery had shared a vision with the Prophet. Joseph Smith took Brothers Coltrin and Cowdery by the arm and said, â€˜Letâ€™s take a walk.â€™ After arriving at a place â€˜where there was some beautiful grass, and grapevines and swamp birch interlaced, President Joseph Smith then said, â€˜Let us pray.â€™ [They] all three prayed in turnâ€“Joseph, Oliver, and [Zebedee]. Brother Joseph then said, â€˜Now brethren, we will see some visions.â€™ . . . The heavens gradually opened, and [they] saw a golden throne, on a circular foundation, and on the throne sat a man and a woman, having white hair and clothed in white garments. They were the two most beautiful and perfect specimens of mankind [he had] ever [seen]. Joseph said, â€˜They are our first parents.â€™ Adam and Eve. Adam was a large broad-shouldered man, and Eve, as a woman, was as large in proportion.â€™â€?