Introduction: The Fall
The Fall of Mankind is considered one of the pillars of eternity according to Elder Bruce R. McConkie. The doctrine is supremely important. Any missionary who has tried to explain the importance of the Savior's mission has encountered the investigator who doesn't get it because they don't comprehend their need for a Savior. Without the Fall, the atonement is meaningless. What good is it to "be saved" if you have no idea what you are saved from? "Why do I need a Savior?" they ask. That's a fair question. Our job is to answer it.
The key concepts are physical death, spiritual death, separation from God, the effect of sin, and the need for redemption. Atonement, literally becoming one with God, only has significance if we understand how we have been separated from God. Eternal Life is a meaningless catchphrase if we don't understand the meaning of eternal death (2 Ne. 9:7-10).
Without the Fall of Man, there is no Condescension of God;
Without the Condescension of God, there is no Ascension of Man.
On the other hand, those who comprehend the Fall are those who know what the Master has done for them. They are those who will bend the knee and kiss his feet. They are those who worship, for they know who they worship, and they know why they worship.
Bruce R. McConkie
The three greatest events that ever have occurred or ever will occur in all eternity are these:
- The creation of the heavens and the earth, of man, and of all forms of life;
- The fall of man, of all forms of life, and of the earth itself from their primeval and paradisiacal state to their present mortal state; and
- The infinite and eternal atonement, which ransoms man, all living things, and the earth also from their fallen state so that the salvation of the earth and of all living things may be completed.
These three divine events-the three pillars of eternity-are inseparably woven together into one grand tapestry known as the eternal plan of salvation. We view the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as the center and core and heart of revealed religion...
But had there been no fall, there could have been no atonement. The fall of Adam brought temporal and spiritual death into the world, and it is from these deaths that man and all forms of life are ransomed through the atonement wrought by the Lord Jesus Christ. Adam brought mortality; Christ brought immortality. (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 81)
The world, more or less, has found a great deal of fault with Mother Eve and with Father Adam, because of the fall of man; what I have to say with regard to it, I express as my own opinion. Adam and Eve came to this world to perform exactly the part that they acted in the Garden of Eden; and I will say, they were ordained of God to do what they did, and it was therefore expected that they would eat of the forbidden fruit in order that man might know both good and evil by passing through this school of experience which this life affords us. That is all I want to say about Father Adam and Mother Eve. Adam fell that man might be, and men are that they might have joy; and some have found fault with that. (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, edited by G. Homer Durham [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], 233)
Harold B. Lee
Now, finally, we read again the Lord's great pronouncement, the revelation that came by the power of the Holy Ghost to Eve-one of the greatest sermons. (I suppose the shortest sermon ever preached by a person was preached by Mother Eve.) Mother Eve declared that the power of the Holy Ghost opened her eyes and gave her understanding. She said: "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 5:11).
So should we, with Eve, rejoice in the Fall, which permitted the coming of the knowledge of good and evil, which permitted the coming of children into mortality, which permitted the receiving of joy of redemption and the eternal life which God gives to all. And so Adam likewise, blessed with the gift of the Holy Ghost, "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" (Moses 5:10).
May the Lord give us His understanding of the great boon that has thus come to us. And let us honor in our minds and in our teachings the great legacy which Adam and Eve gave to us when, through their experience, by the exercise of their own agency, they partook of fruit which gave them the seeds of mortal life and gave to us, their descendants down through the generations of time, that great boon by which we too can receive the joy of our redemption, and in our flesh see God, and have eternal life. (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 35)
Moses 4:1 Satan... is the same which was from the beginning
Christian churches have found fault with LDS theology for saying Jehovah and Lucifer were brothers. That is an offensive idea if you have no understanding of God's creation of pre-mortal spirits, if you don't understand that both Jesus and Satan were there in the great council, if you don't understand that all the inhabitants of the earth were once spirit siblings before a loving Father. Jesus and Satan as brothers? The idea is a powder keg for anti-Mormons.
The problem is that modern Christianity doesn't know where Satan came from. They don't know how he became the devil. Their Bible doesn't include Moses 4:1-4. They don't understand that Lucifer was one of "the angels which kept not their first estate" (Jude 1:6). They don't comprehend that "the third part of the stars of heaven... cast [down] to the earth" (Rev. 12:4) were the spirits Lucifer won in a pre-mortal struggle for the loyalty of God's children. They don't comprehend the meaning of the Revelator, who said, "Satan... was cast out to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Rev. 12:7-9). Specifically, they don't understand that the "war in heaven" (Rev. 12:7) has already occurred-an event which occurred prior to the Fall of Man.
"Are Jesus and Satan brothers? This is a common question asked by those exposed to Anti-Mormon literature. Anti-Mormons often twist doctrines out of context to make it sound like Mormons believe that Latter-Day Saints consider Satan and the Lord to be equals. Of course, anyone familiar with Mormon beliefs about Jesus Christ knows that this is simply not true. Mormons have the utmost respect and reverence for the Savior and Redeemer.
"First, Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God the Father (and is therefore divine) and the mortal virgin Mary. Satan, a malignant spirit, does not share this parental heritage of Jesus, and cannot be considered divine in any respect. Therefore, in the usual way that we speak of brothers and sisters, Jesus and Satan are not brothers.
"However, Latter-day Saints believe that God is our Father in Heaven. Before we came to this world, we all lived as spirits under his care and guidance. We believe that God begat or created the spirits of Jesus, Lucifer, and all of the human family as his children. Our Heavenly Father is literally the father of our spirits. ...So it can be said that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers, in the sense of both being spiritually begotten by the Father, but it is a misrepresentation to say so without giving the contextual background. Whatever similarities in background exist between Jesus and Satan pale compared to the differences. Jesus is the Beloved and Chosen, who is the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh." (http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/response/qa/brother_satan.htm) by W. John Walsh
"Critics do not provide the context for the idea that Christ and Lucifer were brothers. Cain and Abel were also brothers, and yet no Bible reader believes that they are spiritual equals or equally admirable. In a similar way, Latter-day Saints do not believe that Jesus and Satan are equals." (http://fairmormon.org/Jesus_Christ/Brother_of_Satan) updated 6 February, 2011
Moses 4:1 I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost
Dean L. Larsen
Lucifer knew that the promise of salvation extended on his conditions was a lie. He could not have delivered the results he promised. He had two despicable motives in taking the course he did. One was to make himself an absolute dictator with all power and glory. The other was to enslave his followers by taking from them forever their right to make choices. Obviously, under such conditions all opportunity for individual progress and development would have been lost. Lucifer sought to aggrandize himself at the eternal expense of all who would submit to this proposition.
From the account of these dramatic events we gain considerable insight into the importance of Joseph Smith's inspired observation. No person can be compelled to progress. When compulsion is used, the benefits are lost. It is an irrevocable law. Manipulation, regimentation, coercion-for whatever motive or reason-will ultimately fail to produce good results. Joseph Smith specifically warned against such things as pride, vain ambition, control, unrighteous dominion, compulsion, hypocrisy, and guile. He declared that methods of exerting influence based upon these things would cause the Spirit of the Lord to grieve, the heavens to withdraw their sanction, and, finally, the power for accomplishing good to be terminated. (See D&C 121:36-37.) ("Let Your Light So Shine," Ensign, Sept. 1981, 22)
Russell M. Nelson
When God's plan for creation and mortal life on the earth was first announced, sons and daughters of God shouted for joy. The plan was dependent on man's agency, his subsequent fall from the presence of God, and the merciful provision of a Savior to redeem mankind. Scriptures reveal that Lucifer sought vigorously to amend the plan by destroying the agency of man. Satan's cunning motive was unmasked in his statement:
"Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor." (Moses 4:1.)
Satan's selfish efforts to alter the plan of God resulted in great contention in heaven. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained:
"Jesus said there would be certain souls that would not be saved; and the devil said he could save them all, and laid his plans before the grand council, who gave their vote in favor of Jesus Christ. So the devil rose up in rebellion against God, and was cast down." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, p. 357)
This war in heaven was not a war of bloodshed. It was a war of conflicting ideas-the beginning of contention. ("The Canker of Contention," Ensign, May 1989, 68-69)
Moses 4:2 Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever
Lucifer asked for the Father's glory and received none. Jehovah, by seeking the Father's glory instead of his own, received exactly what Lucifer selfishly sought. The Son said let "the glory by thine," but the Father said, "I don't want all the glory. I am more than happy to share it." The Son seeks to glorify the Father, and in return, the Father seeks to glorify the Son. Jesus said, "I was in with the Father from the beginning... and in me hath the Father glorified his name" (3 Ne. 9:15). The Father said, "Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name-hear ye him" (3 Ne. 11:7).
I, John, bear record that he received a fulness of the glory of the Father;
And he received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him. (D&C 93:17-18)
The blessing for submitting to the will of the Father and giving him the glory is to receive some of the same. The Lord has said, "all those who are begotten through me are partakers of the glory of the same, and are the church of the Firstborn." (D&C 93:22) The Father is not selfish. He wants to share his wealth and glory (D&C 84:38).
Moses 4:3 Satan... sought to destroy the agency of man
"From this scriptural account we can conclude that trying to force another to accept the gospel is not pleasing to our Father. He cares not only that they return again to him, but also that they do so of their own free will and choice. He wants them to discover for themselves that the truths he has given are right and good and will bring the greatest joy. In order to do this, everyone needs to be free to experience and discover for himself." (Mollie H. Sorensen, "Being Missionary to Your Spouse," Ensign, Sept. 1983, 60)
John H. Vandenberg
Unfortunately, many do not realize the quality and blessing of that gift of agency of man. If we would but reason the matter, we would come to realize as is expressed in this thought: "Choice is an element of human dignity. Without the power of choice, a man is a lot less than a man. Without the exercise of choice a man never discovers what he can be or what he can do. Choice is the key to the future." ("The Agency of Man," Ensign, July 1973, 33)
Know this, that every soul is free
To choose his life and what he'll be,
For this eternal truth is given
That God will force no man to heaven.
He'll call, persuade, direct aright
And bless with wisdom, love, and light,
In nameless ways be good and kind,
But never force the human mind.
Freedom and reason make us men;
Take these away, what are we then?
Mere animals, and just as well
The beasts may think of heaven or hell.
William C. Gregg, Hymns, p. 90
Ezra Taft Benson
Freedom of choice is a God-given eternal principle. The great plan of liberty is the plan of the gospel. There is no coercion about it; no force, no intimidation. A man is free to accept the gospel or reject it. He may accept it and then refuse to live it, or he may accept it and live it fully. But God will never force us to live the gospel. He will use persuasion through His servants. He will call us and He will direct us and He will persuade us and encourage us and He will bless us when we respond, but He will never force the human mind. (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 82)
Neal A. Maxwell
Indeed, without the existence of choices, without our freedom to choose and without opposition, there would be no real existence. This is so much like Lehi's metaphor of how, in the absence of agency and opposites, things would have resulted in a meaningless, undifferentiated "compound in one" (2 Ne. 2:11). In such a situation the earth would actually have "no purpose in the end of its creation" (2 Ne. 2:12). It is a fact that we can neither grow spiritually nor thereby be truly happy unless and until we make wise use of our moral agency. Yet God will not "force the human mind" even in order to cause us to serve and worship Him. (See D&C 29:36.)
Instead, as between good or evil (even with all of their profound and attendant consequences), the scriptures emphasize: "Nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself" (JST, Gen. 2:21; Moses 3:17). Of this fundamental reality the Lord has said, "Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light" (D&C 93:31). (One More Strain of Praise [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1999], 80)
Boyd K. Packer
Obedience that which God will never take by force-He will accept when freely given. And He will then return to you freedom that you can hardly dream of-the freedom to feel and to know, the freedom to do, and the freedom to be, at least a thousandfold more than we offer Him. Strangely enough, the key to freedom is obedience. (That All May Be Edified [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], 256)
Moses 4:4 he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies
"Here we are told explicitly of Lucifer's great crime; he 'rebelled' against God, or, in other words, he apostatized from God's established order. He did so by seeking to change the plan of the Father and then audaciously attempting to usurp God's own power, prerogatives, and glory. Though he did not start out as Satan, he became Satan through opposition. (The original Hebrew word satan means "adversary.") He drew away his own cadre of disciples who refused to follow the Father and the Son. He and his followers were then expelled from the heavenly realms, free for a time to lay hold on the minds and hearts of willing rebels in every earthly dispensation. As expressed by John the Revelator, 'It was given unto him [Satan] to make war with the saints, and to overcome them' (Rev. 13:7). The Prophet Joseph Smith said, 'the moment [Latter-day Saints] revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power.'" (Andrew C. Skinner, "Apostasy, Restoration, and Lessons in Faith," Ensign, Dec. 1995, 27)
Marion G. Romney
Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle that fits them all." (The Autocrat at the Breakfast Table.)
"A lie will bring you quick results but no premiums. A lie will look well for an hour but show shabby for a year. A lie will bring you cash but cut your credit. A lie will bring you velvet for a moment but hard circumstances for a decade. A lie is a commercial fake, a social fraud, an intellectual makeshift, a theological blunder, and a universal failure. Don't lie." (Anon.) Tell the truth. ("Don't Lie. Tell the Truth," Ensign, Aug. 1975, 4)
Moses 4:4 to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will
"Lucifer tries to cause sin, or entrap people in their sins, or falsely imply sin where there is none. Satan's work is to spread rumors and arouse contentions against what is good. (See Hel. 16:22.) He is 'the father of all lies.' (2 Ne. 2:18.) The devil is the slanderer, deliberately darkening the character and reputation of others until they are wholly stained, while the Lord is the atoner, sacrificing himself in love for others to help them become pure and holy, without any blemish." (Lenet Read, "A Book about God's Love," Ensign, Jan. 1988, 44)
ElRay L. Christiansen
Now, the truth is that Satan lives! Indeed, some have seen his satanic majesty in spirit form.
President Harold B. Lee warned us to "make no mistake about his reality as a personality, even though he does not possess a physical body. Since the beginning of time, he, with his hosts ... have waged relentless war to destroy the free agency of man." Those who teach that there is no devil or who declare him to be a figment of the imagination used only to frighten people are either ignorant of the facts or they themselves are deceived.
How does Satan operate? What are his tactics? Using his superior knowledge, his unique powers of persuasion, half-truths, and complete lies, the evil one uses the spirit children who followed him (which were many), plus mortal beings who have yielded to his evil ways, to wage war against Jehovah and his followers; and they will, if they can, influence us to become critical and to rebel against God and his work. Thus he destroys the souls of men. ("Power Over Satan," Ensign, Nov. 1974, 23-24)
Bruce R. McConkie
As members of the Church, we are engaged in a mighty conflict. We are at war. We have enlisted in the cause of Christ to fight against Lucifer and all that is lustful and carnal and evil in the world. We have sworn to fight alongside our friends and against our enemies, and we must not be confused in distinguishing friends from foes. As another of our ancient fellow apostles wrote: "Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." (James 4:4.)
The great war that rages on every side and which unfortunately is resulting in many casualties, some fatal, is no new thing. There was war even in heaven, when the forces of evil sought to destroy the agency of man, and when Lucifer sought to lead us away from the path of progression and advancement established by an all-wise Father.
That war is continuing on earth, and the devil is still wroth with the Church and goes forth "to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." (Rev. 12:17.)
And it is now as it has always been. The Saints can only overcome him and his forces "by the blood of the Lamb, ... by the word of their testimony," and if they love "not their lives unto the death." (Rev. 12:11.)
Now there neither are nor can be any neutrals in this war. Every member of the Church is on one side or the other. ("Be Valiant in the Fight of Faith," Ensign, Nov. 1974, 33-34)
Moses 4:5 the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field
A hiker looks down and finds a rattlesnake slithering between his legs. He heard neither rattle nor warning; danger lurks beneath without sound or alarm. A camper knows that a snake can find its way into his shoe or sleeping bag. Approaching in perfect silence, his bite comes from below with bitter poison. Of all God's creations, snakes are known to be quiet and sly, cunning and crafty, dangerous and beguiling. These are the characteristics of the evil one.
Neal A. Maxwell
The serpent is a symbol of Satan because the serpent is "more subtle." (Moses 4:5.) He is a liar and a deceiver, and deceit implies clever use of half truths in order to serve his purposes. (Deposition of a Disciple [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 87)
Moses 4:6 he knew not the mind of God, wherefore he sought to destroy the world
Neal A. Maxwell
Even though he is exceedingly brilliant, Satan's brilliance is unanchored and contains a fatal flaw: now, as then, Satan "knew not the mind of God." (Moses 4:6.) In our lives, we must strive to know "the mind of God" and to "give place" for such things. (Deposition of a Disciple [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 89)
Neal A. Maxwell
Satan's fatal flaw was that Satan "knew not the mind of God." (Moses 4:6.) Nor, apparently, did he care to find out about the will of God. He had his own plans and desires. Thus the son of the morning "was angry." (Abraham 3:28.) Because he is miserable, he desires that all men might be miserable like unto himself. (2 Nephi 2:18.) (Things As They Really Are [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 42)
Moses 4:7 he spake by the mouth of the serpent
"Moses 4:7 retains a statement lost from the Book of Genesis: 'And he spake by the mouth of the serpent.' Both Genesis and Moses suggest that Satan worked through the serpent because the nature of the serpent 'was more subtle than any beast of the field which I, the Lord God, had made' (Moses 4:5; Gen. 3:1)... Whether the serpent is literal or figurative is really immaterial as far as the outcome is concerned. Eve was tempted and yielded to the temptation. Adam yielded also, and the fall was initiated." (Millet and Jackson, Studies in Scripture, Vol. 2: The Pearl of Great Price [Salt Lake City: Randall Book, 1985], 93)
Moses 4:8 We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden
"The report of Satan's temptation of Eve contains that which may be designated as his formula for transgression. In applying his cleverly devised formula, he first played upon Eve's sense of freedom, implying in his initial question that she was unduly restricted in her actions by the commandment of God. "Yea, hath God said-Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" he inquired. His insinuating question aroused within her a false sense of independence. Of course she could partake of the fruit of the tree if she so desired. Was she not free? Could she not do as she pleased in the matter?
"At first Eve sought to suppress this false sense of independence, and she replied, 'We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which thou beholdest in the midst of the garden, God hath said-Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.' Observe that the tempting fruit was placed in the midst of the garden, not in some secluded corner. It was not God's plan to exclude the forbidden fruit from man's view. The plan of life requires that man meet temptation and overcome it, though he should avoid even the very appearance of evil.
"Satan's retort implied that God was holding something back from Adam and Eve; that God possessed something He had not given them, nor informed them about; and it was something to be desired. Eve then began to look with desire upon the forbidden fruit." (Hyrum L. Andrus, Doctrinal Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1967], 187)
Moses 4:8-9 But of the fruit of the tree... in the midst of the garden... Ye shall not eat of it
Were Adam and Eve placed in an impossible situation? Weren't they commanded to multiply and replenish the earth, but could not do it without partaking of forbidden fruit? They could not keep both commandments. For doctrinal purists, this presents a dilemma-how can God put Adam and Eve into a situation impossible to navigate with perfect obedience?
While we may not have a full answer, we learn that God cannot be responsible for the entrance of death and wickedness in the world. Those have to be brought about by another agent.
God did not make a mortal being. It would be contrary to this great goodness to make a man mortal, subject to pain, subject to sickness, subject to death. When he made this creation, and when he made these two intelligent beings and placed them upon this creation, he made them after his own likeness and his own image. He did not make them mortal, but he made them immortal, like unto himself. If he had made them mortal, and subject to pain, there would have been some cause, among intelligent beings, to say that the Lord subjected man, without a cause, to afflictions, sorrows, death and mortality. But he could not do this; it was contrary to the nature of his attributes, contrary to the nature of that infinite goodness which dwells in the bosom of the Father and the Son, to make a being subject to any kind of pain. At the time of the creation, all things that proceeded forth from his hands were considered very good. How came, then, Adam to be mortal? How came Adam to be filled with pain and affliction and with great sorrow? It was in consequence of transgression. Hence, the Apostle Paul, in speaking upon this subject, said, that by transgression sin entered into the world, and death by sin. Death, then, instead of being something that the Lord created, instead of being something that he sent into the world, and by sin; the Lord suffered it to come upon Adam in consequence of transgression. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 21: 290 - 291)
Joseph Fielding Smith
If a situation was set up in which two commandments contradict each other, then man [Adam] was free to choose only between two disobediences. Is that fair?
Adam and Eve did not come here in a mortal state. They had to come in the manner in which they did and then transgress the law... The Fall changed the nature of Adam and Eve to fit them for the condition in which we now are. After the coming of an angel with the plan of salvation informing Adam and Eve of the redemption which was to be made by Jesus Christ, Eve rejoiced and said:
. . . 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 5:11.)
All of this had come because of the Fall. Yes, it was "inevitable"; it had to be. If there had been some other way, you and I may both be agreed that our Eternal Father would have chosen it. God is not the author of death nor sin. There may be some things that we have to accept on faith, and we should prepare ourselves to accept all things which the Lord reveals, whether we fully understand them or not. We may be sure that Abraham could not understand why the Lord would command him to take Isaac and offer him as a sacrifice. Evidently there seemed to be no reason for it. However, Abraham never questioned the Lord and obediently went forth to carry out the commandment. Thus the Lord proved Abraham who showed his loyalty for which he was rewarded and exalted above his fellows.
We should never permit ourselves to say the Lord did something that was wrong, or that could have been avoided, or that there was a better way. We are very weak mortals. Our experiences are very limited, and we should not rise up and say that the Lord is unjust, or that he has committed an error. (Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957-1966], 2: 215)
Moses 4:10 ye shall not surely die
"You won't die," is Satan's lie. He is right, of course, but he is also lying. He knows that Adam and Eve are worried about the death of the body. He knows they have been told that in the day that they eat thereof, they "shalt surely die." (Gen. 2:17) But Adam and Eve expect an immediate physical death. He knows that the Lord means to give them time, a probationary period, an experience of mortality lasting many years. He knows that God's warning of death is according to the Lord's time and not man's. Satan was right to suggest that Adam and Eve won't die immediately. Physically speaking they didn't.
The story with spiritual death is entirely different. Spiritually speaking, the consequence of the Fall was immediate. Adam and Eve were immediately cast out of the garden and cut off from the presence of God. They would die as to the things of the Spirit. Their spiritual death would require a spiritual rebirth. They would need to be born again as sons and daughters of Christ. "How craftily Satan laid his snare! Contrary to what Satan told Eve, spiritual death would be the immediate result of the Fall, and physical death would ensue." (Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, eds., The Man Adam [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1990], 101)
George Q. Cannon
The devil in tempting Eve told a truth when he said unto her that when she should eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they should become as Gods. He told the truth in telling that, but he accompanied it with a lie as he always does. He never tells the complete truth. He said that they should not die. The Father had said that they should die. The devil had to tell a lie in order to accomplish his purposes; but there was some truth in his statement. (Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, selected, arranged, and edited by Jerreld L. Newquist [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 14)
Moses 4:11 ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil
Whenever Satan presents a temptation, he does it in partial truths, half-truths, or twisted truths. He paints a pretty picture, but he never paints the whole picture. With Eve's temptation, that could never be more accurate. Eve is faced with the temptation to eat of the forbidden fruit when Satan tells one of his evil half-truths; she is told that she will become as the "gods, knowing good and evil." This, of course, is true (see v. 28).
However, it is one of the most glaring partial truths in all of scriptural history. There is much, much more to the story than gaining knowledge and Satan knew it. The Fall would bring the opportunity to become either as gods or as devils, depending on the choices made. What would Eve had been told if she were given the whole story?
1. Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil
This statement is repeated for completeness sake. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve were in "a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin" (2 Ne. 2:23). Knowledge meant personal experience living with "opposition in all things," light and darkness, health and sickness, sweet and bitter, pleasure and pain (2 Ne. 2:11).
George Q. Cannon
Their eyes were opened. They had a knowledge of good and evil just as the Gods have. They became as Gods; for that is one of the features, one of the peculiar attributes of those who attain unto that glory-they understand the difference between good and evil. (Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, selected, arranged, and edited by Jerreld L. Newquist [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 14)
2. Ye shall be as gods, with agency to act according to your will and pleasure
In the garden, Adam and Eve had only two commandments. After the Fall, there would be more commandments, more temptations, more decisions, more trials, more opportunities for success, more opportunities for failure. One of the greatest gifts of God to man is the gift of agency, "placing themselves in a state to act, or being placed in a state to act according to their wills and pleasures, whether to do evil or to do good" (Alma 12:31) The gods have this privilege. (See Dan. 4:35; 1 Kgs. 18:27)
Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh... they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil. (2 Ne. 2:27)
Behold, I gave unto [Adam] that he should be an agent unto himself... And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet. (D&C 29:35, 39)
Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man (D&C 93:31)
David O. McKay
Next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct our lives is God's greatest gift to man. Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any possession earth can give. It is inherent in the spirit of man. It is a divine gift to every normal being. Whether born in abject poverty or shackled at birth by inherited riches, everyone has the most precious of all life's endowments-the gift of... agency, man's inherited and inalienable right. It is the impelling source of the soul's progress. It is the purpose of the Lord that man becomes like him. In order for man to achieve this, it was necessary for the Creator first to make him free. To man is given a special endowment not bestowed upon any other living thing. God gave to him the power of choice. Only to the human being did the Creator say: ". . . thou mayest choose for thyself for it is given unto thee;" (Moses 3:17.) Without this divine power to choose, humanity cannot progress. (Conference Report, October 1965, First Day-Morning Meeting 8)
3. Ye shall be as gods, with power to procreate
The Christian world does not understand that Adam and Eve were so innocent that they could not have children before the Fall. This critical difference has huge impact on how Adam and Eve are perceived. Most of the rest of Christianity believes that if our first parents had not partaken of the forbidden fruit, then all of humanity would be living in the paradise of Eden. From their perspective Adam and Eve blew it for all of us. Robert L. Millet wrote:
"Some years later I was driving across the country, listening to the car radio as I traveled. I especially enjoy listening to religious channels and networks to better understand the perspective of our Protestant and Catholic friends. On one channel the host of a rather popular program was taking calls from the listening audience, soliciting religious questions. One caller asked, 'Reverend, why did Adam and Eve take the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?' The minister's answer was simple. 'I don't know,' he said. 'That's the dumbest thing anyone could have done! Why, if Adam and Eve had not been so selfish, so power-hungry, we might all have been in paradise today!' The answer at the time caused me to chuckle. I have since thought again and again about his answer and looked more soberly and sympathetically upon a Christian world which desperately needs what we as Latter-day Saints have to offer." (Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, eds., The Man Adam [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1990], 190)
The Book of Mormon solves the doctrinal dilemma teaching, "if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen... And they would have had no children" (2 Ne. 2:22-23).
Both plain and precious is the doctrine that the power of procreation is a divine characteristic. Only those who receive the highest degree of the celestial kingdom will retain this power through eternity. Those who are exalted receive "a fullness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. Then shall they be gods, because they have no end." (D&C 132:19-20) When viewed in light of this doctrine, the power of procreation is more holy and sacred than the world could ever appreciate. Violation of God's commands with respect to this power is particularly serious because of the sacredness of the privilege.
George Q. Cannon
The power of procreation is... the greatest power that man possesses on the earth, that is promised unto those who are faithful... By it, and through that principle the worlds are peopled. The planetary orbs which stud our heavens so gloriously are peopled by that principle-the principle of procreation. God possesses it, and we as His children inherit the power. If we do what is right He promises to bestow it upon us... This is the highest pleasure that human beings can attain unto, and we shall have it in eternity, and it shall be the chief source of our enjoyment and of our happiness in the world to come. (Conference Report, April 1899, Afternoon Session)
4. Ye shall be as devils, becoming carnal, sensual, devilish by nature
So far the consequences have all been good, but knowledge of good and evil must involve as much evil as good. Therefore, Adam and Eve would suffer the evil consequences of the Fall as well. Satan's temptation of Eve never suggested anything bad would happen. His message was "you won't die, but shall be as the gods."
However, the great dichotomy of mortality would mean that man would inherit divine privileges and yet become devilish by nature. The scriptures are clear on this point, "they had become carnal, sensual, and devilish, by nature" (Alma 42:10). The fall "was the cause of all mankind becoming carnal, sensual and devilish, knowing evil from good... thus all mankind were lost" (Mosiah 16:3-4). In a manner of speaking, the natural man was born. By nature, man was an enemy to God (Mosiah 3:16). Without the atonement, even children "are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good" (Moses 6:55).
5. Ye shall be as devils, subject to the power of the devil
When a third of the hosts of heaven followed Lucifer, they became subject to his power. He boasts of both power and priesthoods. "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Rev. 11:9) "And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will" (Moses 4:4). Just as Satan's minions, fallen man-the natural man-is subject unto the power of the devil, "For they are canal and devilish, and the devil has power over them... Thus all mankind were lost" (Mosiah 16:3-4)
Optimists may contest the point that the natural man is indeed subject to the power of the devil. However, without an atonement, all would be forever subject to his oppressive reign, "if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to... the devil... and our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery" (2 Ne. 9:8-9). This message of doom was conveniently omitted from the discussion between Lucifer and Eve.
In the first place the spirit is pure, and under the special control and influence of the Lord, but the body is of the earth, and is subject to the power of the Devil, and is under the mighty influence of that fallen nature that is of the earth. If the spirit yields to the body, the Devil then has power to overcome the body and spirit of that man, and he loses both.
Recollect, brethren and sisters, every one of you, that when evil is suggested to you, when it arises in your hearts, it is through the temporal organization... [And] many, very many, let the spirit yield to the body, and are overcome and destroyed.
Evil is with us, it is that influence which tempts to sin, and which has been permitted to come into the world for the express purpose of giving us an opportunity of proving ourselves before God. (Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 70)
6. Ye shall be as devils, subject to death both temporally and spiritually
Spiritual death means to be cut off from the presence of God. This is exactly what happened to Satan and his angels. Having not kept their first estate, they were cut off from the presence of God. Adam and Eve were cut off from the presence of God just as the devil; "And now, ye see by this that our first parents were cut off both temporally and spiritually from the presence of the Lord" (Alma 42:7).
To be accurate, Lucifer could have told Eve that if she partook of the forbidden fruit that she would be immediately cast out of the garden and God's presence. He could have explained that without access to the tree of life, her body would become mortal, subject unto death with subsequent sickness, pain, and suffering. Ultimately, she would die a physical (or temporal) death as well. Satan's alluring lie, "you shall not die" was the biggest of all lies from the father of lies.
The consequences of partaking of the forbidden fruit can be summarized in this simple table:
Moses 4:12 the woman... did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat
James E. Talmage
Adam found himself in a position that made it impossible for him to obey both of the specific commandments given by the Lord. He and his wife had been commanded to multiply and replenish the earth. Adam had not yet fallen to the state of mortality, but Eve already had; and in such dissimilar conditions the two could not remain together, and therefore could not fulfil the divine requirement as to procreation. On the other hand, Adam would be disobeying another commandment by yielding to Eve's request. He deliberately and wisely decided to stand by the first and greater commandment; and, therefore, with understanding of the nature of his act, he also partook of the fruit that grew on the tree of knowledge. The fact that Adam acted understandingly in this matter is affirmed by scripture. Paul, in writing to Timothy, explained that "Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." (1 Tim. 2:14) The prophet Lehi, in expounding the scriptures to his sons, declared: "Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have joy." (2 Ne. 2:25) (Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 59)
Joseph Fielding Smith
In this manner death came into the world and all men have inherited the seeds of death from their first parents. To amend this broken law and restore life after the mortal death has filled its mission, Jesus Christ was sent into the world. There is another error which has found its way into the religious world, and that is that the transgression of Adam frustrated the divine plan and made it necessary for other means than those first intended to be employed, in order to bring about the proper restoration, and redeem man from this fallen condition. It is sometimes said that all things upon the earth would have been peaceful, men would have lived in love and obedience without the ravages of evil, had not Adam failed in his mission, and hearkened to Satan who endeavored to thwart the plan of the Lord and bring upon man destruction. These well-meaning people speak of Adam's transgression, as "man's shameful fall." It was not a shameful fall, but a part of the great plan to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man. (The Restoration of All Things [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1945], 268 - 269)
Some may regret that our first parents sinned. This is nonsense. If we had been there, and they had not sinned, we should have sinned. I will not blame Adam or Eve, why? Because it was necessary that sin should enter into the world; no man could ever understand the principle of exaltation without its opposite; no one could ever receive an exaltation without being acquainted with its opposite. How did Adam and Eve sin? Did they come out in direct opposition to God and to His government? No. But they transgressed a command of the Lord, and through that transgression sin came into the world. The Lord knew they would do this, and He had designed that they should. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 10: 312)
I believe in the fall of man, as recorded in the Bible; I believe that God foreknew everything, but did not foreordain everything; I deny that foreordain and foreknow is the same thing. He foreordained the fall of man; but all merciful as He is, He foreordained at the same time, a plan of redemption for all mankind. (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 Vols. 4:78)
Moses 4:14 Adam and his wife went to hide themselves from the presence of the Lord
"Adam's transgression caused him to experience a new emotion-fear. That fear caused him to hide himself from the presence of the Lord. Most of his sons have done the same." (Rodney Turner, Woman and the Priesthood [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972], 299)
Though man did transgress, his transgression did not deprive him of the previous knowledge with which he was endowed relative to the existence and glory of his Creator; for no sooner did he hear his voice than he sought to hide himself from his presence.
This... shows this important fact, that though our first parents were driven out of the garden of Eden, and were even separated from the presence of God by a veil, they still retained a knowledge of his existence, and that sufficiently to move them to call upon him. And further, that no sooner was the plan of redemption revealed to man, and he began to call upon God, than the Holy Spirit was given, bearing record of the Father and Son. (Lectures on Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 2:19, 25)
Moses 4:15 God, called unto Adam, and said unto him: Where goest thou?
Doesn't God ask us the same question when we transgress his laws? The Spirit seems to whisper: Where are you going? What are you doing? Why would you do that? Those are the moments when the still, small voice is the stillest and the smallest of all. With our backs toward God and our ears pointed in the direction of the natural man, we can't hear His warnings as well. Still, the Lord calls after us, "Where goest thou?"
Moses 4:17 And the man said, The woman...gave me of the tree, and I did eat
One of the great testimonies to the truth of the scriptures, whether ancient or modern, is that human nature is represented in such a transparent and real way. In this instance, we see the natural tendency of man to place blame elsewhere. Like a child who displaces blame when asked, "who made the mess?" Adam is quick to explain how his normal perfect obedience could have been compromised. He even reminds the Lord that the woman was His idea, almost as if to say, "You gave her to me! Now look what happened!"
Eve does the same thing. She points out that if it weren't for the serpent, none of this would have happened.
It is as if Adam wants Eve to get in trouble, and Eve wants Satan to get in trouble. But the Lord in his perfect justice would hold all three accountable.
"We've all seen ourselves as victims of someone else's behavior. Changing our thinking to focus on the given circumstances and our responsibility for current choices can be liberating... If we truly understand and rejoice in agency, then we cannot get stuck blaming others. We also are not allowed the luxury of blaming ourselves for the actions or choices of others." (Susette Fletcher Green and Dawn Hall Anderson, eds., To Rejoice As Women: Talks from the 1994 Women's Conference [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 38)
Moses 4:20 Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed... dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life
The serpent in the dust is a metaphor for Satan. The snake is feared and deadly; slithering in the dust, it is never clean. It speaks half-truths with a forked tongue. But outside this reptilian metaphor, what is the meaning of the curse as applied to Satan and his followers? Is it real? The answer, it would seem, has only been partially revealed. They are indeed in a cursed state, separated from God as devils and angels to a devil. If we could look into that evil world, we would better understand the nature of their cursed existence. Much of what we know comes from the New Testament.
The devils are cursed above all the cattle and the beasts because they don't have a body. Hence, entering into swine would seem to be a refreshing change of pace (Matt. 8:28-33). Without a body, it would seem, they wander, "When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none." (Matt. 12:43) While we don't know what the Lord meant by evil spirits walking "through dry places," you can bet it relates to this curse in the Garden of Eden.
Heber C. Kimball saw a vision of this hellish world while a missionary in England. His account is reminiscent of the scripture which tells us "I, the Lord, show it by vision unto many, but straightway shut it up again; Wherefore, the end, the width, the height, the depth, and the misery thereof, they understand not, neither any man except those who are ordained unto this condemnation." (D&C 76:47-48)
Heber C. Kimball
A vision was opened to our minds, and we could distinctly see the evil spirits, who foamed and gnashed their teeth at us. We gazed upon them about an hour and a half... Space appeared before us, and we saw the devils coming in legions, with their leaders, who came within a few feet of us. They came towards us like armies rushing to battle. They appeared to be men of full stature, possessing every form and feature of men in the flesh, who were angry and desperate; and I shall never forget the vindictive malignity depicted on their countenances as they looked me in the eye; and any attempt to paint the scene which then presented itself, or portray their malice and enmity, would be vain. I perspired exceedingly, my clothes becoming as wet as if I had been taken out of the river. I felt excessive pain, and was in the greatest distress for sometime. I cannot even look back on the scene without feelings of horror; yet by it I learned the power of the adversary, his enmity against the servants of God, and got some understanding of the invisible world. (Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Kimball Family, 1888], 130 - 131)
Moses 4:21 he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel
The scripture has been rendered differently in the temple version. To Satan, the Lord says, "you shall have power to bruise his heel, but he (meaning Adam and his posterity) shall have power to crush thy head." The declaration from the Lord is an obvious limit to Satan's power. The scriptures clearly show that God allows Satan limited powers in tempting and trying the children of men. In general, he is not given power to take life (Job 1-2). He cannot possess someone's body except under certain conditions. Although given free reign to tempt mankind, even that has an age limit, for "power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children." (D&C 29:47)
Daniel H. Wells
As to the devil, what have we to do with him? ... the Holy Ghost is ready every moment to administer to our salvation, and the evil spirit is also ready to lead us into temptation. That is true, but look at the word the Lord gave us through our first parents, when He planted us on this earth. He said to the serpent, (quotes Gen. 3:14-15.) We have that advantage over the devil; we can, if we have a mind to, resist him, and he will flee from us. He can be cast out, and he is subject to us. We have the length and breadth of ourselves clear from being contaminated with him. I will say that, without fearing successful contradiction. If he overcomes us, we first let down the bars, and invite him to enter; or he would not come further than our heels.
The Lord gave us our agency to do as we please, and it is for us to say whether we will be for God or the devil. We may make ourselves angels to the devil, or Saints of the Most High. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 4: 254)
Every time we submit to temptation, the serpent bruises our heel. Every time we resist temptation, we bruise Satan's head. The proximate victory is ours. We have that power. He may rant and boast, "Now is the great day of my power." But he can have that power only as we allow it by succumbing to temptation. The ultimate victory, however, cannot come from the strength of man. The real head-crushing power comes only through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
B. H. Roberts
Christ to whom reference is made, shall bruise the serpent's head-shall wound him in a vital part; while the serpent shall have power only to wound the woman's "seed" in the heel-an unvital part. The victory shall be given to the seed of the woman. The Christ will overcome Lucifer. A prophecy of the future world-battle of good and evil forces-between the Christ and Lucifer, with assurance from God of victory with the Christ. (Falling Away, 188 - 189)
All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not. The devil has no power over us only as we permit him. The moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 181)
Moses 4:22 I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception
Any woman who has been pregnant during the hot summer months, who has not been able to sleep because of back pain, or who has delivered a child without an epidural can attest to the truth of this promise. The tragedies of miscarriage and stillbirth only multiply the sorrow. Having babies is no fun. The men just couldn't handle it.
Harold B. Lee
A mother has a different sense of values in considering man's worth. Whether it be a son lying dangerously ill in a hospital bed or a son or daughter caught in the merciless web of sin and crime, she counts the cost in tears of anguish and lonely vigils filled with pleadings and supplications. A mother's love prompts agonized suffering in her almost commensurate with that of her offspring. Since the days of mother Eve, a mother's sorrow has been greatly multiplied in her conception, and in sorrow has she brought forth children. (Genesis 3:16.) After months of travail she has gone to the gates of death that she might ascend the mountains of life, and to her the cry of her infant child, giving evidence that it is alive, is ample reward for her pain and sacrifice. (Decisions for Successful Living [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1973], 113 - 114)
Moses 4:22 thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee
"The preposition translated here as 'over' is the Hebrew letter beth. Its primary meaning is 'in' or 'with' rather than 'over.' That changes the last phrase to 'he shall rule with thee.' This alternate translation supports President Kimball's preference to read 'preside' rather than 'rule' in this scripture, and it would also better capture God's intent for the family. The Proclamation on the Family declares that although divine responsibilities may differ, 'fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.'" (Dawn Anderson, Dlora Dalton, and Susette Green, eds., Every Good Thing: Talks from the 1997 BYU Women's Conference [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 345)
"Part of the reason this verse troubles some people is that they place the emphasis on the word rule instead of on the word desire, which is the key word of the phrase. The root origins of desire give added meaning. Desire means "to long for, to stretch out towards, and to yearn for." This was not a curse upon Eve but a blessing. Let's suppose that just before my daughter was to be married, she came to me and asked for a father's blessing. Let's further suppose that when I laid my hands on her head, I gave her the following blessing: "I bless you that you will always feel a desire toward your husband. You will long to be with him in eternity. Your heart will stretch out to him in love, and you will yearn for his companionship. I further bless you that he will preside over your home in righteousness and honor." Would she feel I had cursed and punished her? Surely every righteous woman in the Church desires to be married to a husband and to be able to love him in that manner.
"President Spencer W. Kimball offered this valuable insight regarding the phrase 'thy husband ... shall rule over thee': "I have a question about the word rule. It gives the wrong impression. I would prefer to use the word preside because that's what he does. A righteous husband presides over his wife and family." (Ensign, Mar. 1976, p. 72)
"Also we remember the man the Lord was talking about when he said these words to Eve. Adam was the great Michael, he who had helped Jehovah create the earth, the great first prophet of the Lord on earth, a most righteous son of God. Those who interpret God's blessing upon Eve as a punishment have not understood the meaning of scripture. The Lord was telling Eve that she would be watched over, cared for, and protected by the righteous love of a noble husband as she entered the fallen world. In the misunderstandings typical of mortality, how ironic that many men take this verse and use it as license to exercise unrighteous dominion and to rule over their wives instead of treating their wives in a manner to encourage a spouse's desire toward them." (S. Michael Wilcox, "I Have a Question," Ensign, Feb. 1994, 63)
Moses 4:23-24 cursed shall be the ground for thy sake... Thorns also, and thistles shall it bring forth
All of God's actions are for our benefit. On the surface, the curse on the land would seem to have no redeeming value. No longer would the earth produce beautiful foliage spontaneously. Weeds would be the default pathway. As Gordon B. Hinckley stated, "Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds." (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 707) James E. Talmage wrote:
Adam felt directly the effects of transgression in finding a barren and dreary earth, with a relatively sterile soil, instead of the beauty and fruitfulness of Eden. In place of pleasing and useful plants, thorns and thistles sprang up; and the man had to labor arduously, under the conditions of physical fatigue and suffering, to cultivate the soil that he might obtain necessary food. (Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 61)
But working the soil of the earth would be a blessing to Adam and to his posterity. The toil itself has a redemptive quality. Work is good for the soul. We are commanded to work because it is good for us. This part of the 4th commandment is often overlooked, for we are commanded to work as much as we are commanded to rest, "Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work." (Ex. 20:9)
"The Lord did not curse Adam. He cursed the earth 'for thy sake.' Through the ages man has received more than bread through the sweat of his face. He has received happiness.
"Bismarck, the powerful Prussian statesman, once said: 'To youth I have but three words of counsel: work, work, work.'" (Wendell J. Ashton, "The Sweetness of Sweat," Ensign, July 1971, 35)
Henry B. Eyring
I want to tell you a story about waiting on the Lord... Now, you have to know a little bit about my father. His name was Henry Eyring, like mine. His work in chemistry was substantial enough to bring him many honors, but he was still a member of a ward of the Church with his duty to do. To appreciate this story, you have to realize that it occurred when he was nearly eighty and had bone cancer. He had bone cancer so badly in his hips that he could hardly move. The pain was great.
Dad was the senior high councilor in his stake, and he had the responsibility for the welfare farm. An assignment was given to weed a field of onions, so Dad assigned himself to go work on the farm. He never told me how hard it was, but I have met several people who were with him that day. I talked to one of them on the phone, and he said that he was weeding in the row next to Dad through much of the day. He told me the same thing that others who were there that day have told me. He said that the pain was so great that Dad was pulling himself along on his stomach with his elbows. He couldn't kneel. The pain was too great for him to kneel. Everyone who has talked to me about that day has remarked how Dad smiled and laughed and talked happily with them as they worked in that field of onions.
Now, this is the joke Dad told me on himself afterward. He said he was there at the end of the day. After all the work was finished and the onions were all weeded, someone said to him, "Henry, good heavens! You didn't pull those weeds, did you? Those weeds were sprayed two days ago, and they were going to die anyway."
Dad just roared. He thought that was the funniest thing. He thought it was a great joke on himself. He had worked through the day in the wrong weeds. They had been sprayed and would have died anyway.
When Dad told me this story, I knew how tough it was. So I asked him, "Dad, how could you make a joke out of that? How could you take it so pleasantly?" He said something to me that I will never forget, and I hope you won't. He said, "Hal, I wasn't there for the weeds."
Now, you'll be in an onion patch much of your life. So will I. It will be hard to see the powers of heaven magnifying us or our efforts. It may even be hard to see our work being of any value at all. And sometimes our work won't go well.
But you didn't come for the weeds. You came for the Savior. And if you pray, and if you choose to be clean, and if you choose to follow God's servants, you will be able to work and wait long enough to bring down the powers of heaven. (To Draw Closer to God: A Collection of Discourses [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 102)
Moses 4:25 By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou shalt return unto the ground
Who decided the retirement age should be 65? You can be assured it wasn't the Lord. While there is nothing wrong with retiring, per se, but there is something wrong with a life of idleness, even in the final years. The Lord's command is to work yourself into the grave-literally. Certainly, the Lord would be pleased with those retired couples who would work in his vineyard as missionaries. Certainly, he prefers his experienced servants to serve in his churches and temples. While health concerns may be limiting, the command to work is lifelong. Hugh Nibley appropriately exempts the sisters from the strictness of this requirement.
If Eve must labor to bring forth, so too must Adam labor (Genesis 3:17; Moses 4:23) to quicken the earth so it shall bring forth. Both of them bring forth life with sweat and tears, and Adam is not the favored party. If his labor is not as severe as hers, it is more protracted. For Eve's life will be spared long after her childbearing-"nevertheless thy life shall be spared"-while Adam's toil must go on to the end of his days: "In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life!" Even retirement is no escape from that sorrow. (Old Testament and Related Studies, edited by John W. Welch, Gary P. Gillum, and Don E. Norton [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1986], 89 - 90)
Moses 4:26 Eve... was the mother of all living
James E. Faust
President Joseph F. Smith recorded his vision of the hosts of the dead, in which he saw the great and mighty, and among them Adam and Eve. He describes the setting in which he sees Eve in this language: "And our glorious Mother Eve, with many of her faithful daughters who had lived through the ages and worshiped the true and living God." (D&C 138:39) Indeed, Mother Eve left a lasting legacy that comes down through the ages to bless the lives of all men and women.
As daughters of God, you cannot imagine the divine potential within each of you. Surely the secret citadel of women's inner strength is spirituality. In this you equal and even surpass men, as you do in faith, morality, and commitment when truly converted to the gospel. You have "more trust in the Lord [and] more hope in his word." (Hymn 131) This inner spiritual sense seems to give you a certain resilience to cope with sorrow, trouble, and uncertainty. ("What It Means to Be a Daughter of God," Ensign, Nov. 1999, 101)
Moses 4:26 first of all women, which are many
"There were no pre-Adamites. At the beginning of the creation, as the first day was concluded, the earth was empty and desolate. At the beginning of the seventh day, 'there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air.' Then man was formed, a garden was planted, and man was placed in the garden as the first flesh upon the earth. Such is the testimony of scripture. To Moses, God also declared of the many worlds He had created: 'And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.' Abraham testified that for this earth Adam was 'the first man' and 'our first father.' Nephi referred to Adam and Eve as 'our first parents.' Furthermore, the Book of Moses declares that Adam called his wife Eve, 'because she was the mother of all living.' In declaring this fact to Moses, the Lord added, 'For thus have I, the Lord God, called the first of all women.' Since there were no women on earth before Eve and since she was the mother of all living, it follows that there could have been no men on earth before Adam. (Hyrum L. Andrus, Doctrinal Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1967], 172 - 173)
Moses 4:27 make coats of skins, and clothed them
Bruce R. McConkie
From the beginning the garments of the saints have enjoyed a special and sacred place in true worship. They cover that nakedness which when exposed leads to lewd and lascivious conduct. They stand as a symbol of modesty and decency and are a constant reminder to true believers of the restraints and controls placed by a divine providence upon their acts. Adam and Eve made for themselves aprons of fig leaves to cover their nakedness and preserve their modesty. The Lord himself made coats of skins to cover the bodies of our first parents, that they, being clothed and wholesome before him, might attain those feelings which foster reverence and worship.
...We can see how the dress standards given to Adam and Eve taught modesty and placed the new mortals in a frame of mind to live and worship by proper standards. Immodest, ornate, and worldly dress is an invitation to unclean thoughts and immoral acts, which are foreign to that conduct and worship desired by Him whose we are. (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979-1981], 2: 295)
Moses 4:28 lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever
What does the scripture mean, which saith that God placed cherubim and a flaming sword on the east of the garden of Eden, lest our first parents should enter and partake of the fruit of the tree of life, and live forever? And thus we see that there was no possible chance that they should live forever.
Now Alma said unto him: This is the thing which I was about to explain. Now we see that Adam did fall by the partaking of the forbidden fruit, according to the word of God; and thus we see, that by his fall, all mankind became a lost and fallen people.
And now behold, I say unto you that if it had been possible for Adam to have partaken of the fruit of the tree of life at that time, there would have been no death, and the word would have been void, making God a liar, for he said: If thou eat thou shalt surely die.
And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead.
Now, if it had not been for the plan of redemption, which was laid from the foundation of the world, there could have been no resurrection of the dead; but there was a plan of redemption laid, which shall bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, of which has been spoken.
And now behold, if it were possible that our first parents could have gone forth and partaken of the tree of life they would have been forever miserable, having no preparatory state; and thus the plan of redemption would have been frustrated, and the word of God would have been void, taking none effect. (Alma 12:21-26)
Had Adam and Eve partaken of the tree of life after the forbidden fruit, they would have been both immortal and fallen. Those are contradictory conditions. You can be mortal and fallen; or you can be immortal and innocent; but you can't be fallen and immortal-the two don't go together. The combination of the two would be a frustration of God's perfect plan. Besides, none of us want to be lost and fallen forever.
While we are succumbing to temptation and learning about evil firsthand, we must do so in a probationary state. There must be forgiveness and redemption, "a time to prepare to meet God." There must be physical resurrection and spiritual renewal. Keeping Adam and Eve from the tree of life in the fallen state was key for the probationary period to begin.
Russell M. Nelson
As we consider self-defense, self-repair, and self-renewal, an interesting paradox emerges. Limitless life could result if these marvelous qualities of the body continued in perpetuity. If we could create anything that could defend itself, repair itself, and renew itself without limit, we could create perpetual life. That is what our Creator did with the bodies he created for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Had they continued to be nourished from the tree of life, they would have lived forever. According to the Lord, as revealed through his prophets, the fall of Adam instituted the aging process, which results ultimately in physical death. Of course, we do not understand all the chemistry, but we are witnesses of the consequences of growing old. This and other pathways of release assure that there is a limit to the length of life upon the earth. (The Power within Us [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1988], 8)
Joseph Fielding Smith
This mortal probation was to be a brief period, just a short span linking the eternity past with the eternity future. Yet it was to be a period of tremendous importance. It would either give to those who received it the blessing of eternal life, which is the greatest gift of God, and thus qualify them for godhood as sons and daughters of our Eternal Father, or, if they rebelled and refused to comply with the laws and ordinances which were provided for their salvation, it would deny them the great gift and they would be assigned, after the resurrection, to some inferior sphere according to their works. This life is the most vital period in our eternal existence. It is filled with awful responsibilities and dangers. Here we are face to face with innumerable temptations. Lucifer, formerly a son of the morning, now Satan, the deceiver, is here with his rebellious hosts to tempt us and lead us astray.
We have to pass through pain and sorrow and are constantly in need of protection against sin and error. This is given us through the Spirit of God if we will but heed it. All of this was made known to us in the pre-existence, and yet we were glad to take the risk. (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 1: 69)
Moses 4:31 So I drove out the man... [out] of the Garden of Eden
"With the Fall their work became reality. Therefore, the Lord sent them 'forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground' from whence they were taken (Moses 4:29). The scriptural language is that of mission. The Lord clothed Adam and Eve in coats or garments of skins prior to their leaving the garden. These garments would serve as protection in their sojourn, through righteousness and obedience to their covenants. They were to enter the world rightly clothed, anointed, and instructed. Their judgment and wisdom, knowing good and evil, would be according to their faith in God, and not according to the wisdom Satan contrived. 'Behold,' the Father said, 'the man is become as one of us,' meaning Adam and Eve had stepped forward on the path to exaltation (Moses 4:28).
"Adam and Eve had walked and talked with the Father and the Son in Eden's garden. Neither sin, nor disbelief, nor misunderstanding had raised any barrier between them. To walk and talk with no veil between them was a great blessing. But the full blessing was to be as the Father, an exalted being. Adam and Eve partook of the tree of death in order to eventually gain eternal life. In the world they would again reach out to the tree of life. In their choosing, Adam and Eve gained the nourishment of salvation. The sustenance of Satan was the dust of the earth, which held no reward. Relying upon the word of God, Adam and Eve entered the world of briar and thorn. Such was their faith. (Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, eds., The Man Adam [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1990], 105)
Parley P. Pratt
Now, reader, contemplate the change. This scene, which was so beautiful a little before, had now become the abode of sorrow and toil, of death and mourning: the earth groaned with its production of accursed thorns and thistles; man and beast at enmity; the serpent slyly creeping away, fearing lest his head should get the deadly bruise; and man startling amid the thorny path, in fear lest the serpent's fangs should pierce his heel while the lamb yields his blood upon the smoking altar. Soon man begins to persecute, hate and murder his fellow, until at length the earth is filled with violence, all flesh becomes corrupt, the powers of darkness prevailed, and it repented Noah that God had made man, and it grieved him at his heart, because the Lord should come out in vengeance, and cleanse the earth by water. (A Voice of Warning [New York City: Eastern States Mission [189-?], 90 - 91)