Context and General Information
- Lehi, shortly before his death, is still speaking to Jacob and his other children.
- After Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, they were driven out of the garden of Eden.
- Adam and Eve brought forth children – the family of all the earth.
- The days of the children of men were prolonged, according to God’s will, so that we could repent while in the flesh. It seems that this is the most effective way for us to repent.
- All of us were lost because of Adam’s transgression.
- If Adam would NOT have transgressed, then he would not have fallen; however, everything would have remained in this holding pattern state in the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve would have remained in a state of innocence, no children, no joy, no misery, no good, no sin, no knowledge.
- God’s allowance of the fall was a good thing.
The Fall was a Good Thing
I grew up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I went to primary and church as a kid. I was baptized when I was eight. I went to seminary, institute, etc. I have grown up knowing that the fall of Adam, though it was a transgression against God’s commands regarding the Garden of Eden, was a good thing for all of mankind. This, however, is not a commonly held belief among all Christian denominations.
But it’s true!
“And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
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.” – 2 Nephi 2:22-23
I love this point of doctrine. I love knowing that Adam’s and Eve’s wasn’t this terrible mistake that surprised God and doomed man. It was always a part of the plan!!!
And how do we know that? Well, look at what it says in verse, 23. Had Adam and Eve stayed in the Garden of Eden, then they would have had no children.
The first commandment God gave to them was to multiply and replenish the earth. They needed to find a way out of the Garden of Eden so that they could have children, so we could have a chance to be here on this Earth!
When the Lord created Adam and Eve, He gave them two commandments.
One – Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. They weren’t supposed to remain in the garden alone. Life on earth wasn’t only about Adam. In fact, in order for Adam and Eve to find the most fulfillment and joy in life, they would need to both multiply and replenish the earth. They needed to have a family. They needed to get married and have children. They needed to create – both individually and together. This is what would bring them joy – to fulfill their measure of their creation.
In the garden of Eden, according to the scriptures, having a family wasn’t yet a possibility. I’m not sure why. Life in the Garden may have been blissful, but it wasn’t joyful, and this is because they couldn’t fulfill the measure of their creations – they couldn’t live with purpose.
So God commanded them to be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth.
Then, God gave them a seemingly contradictory commandment.
Two – Do Not Eat of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
Why would the Lord tell them this if it is impossible for them to keep the first commandment? Both of these commandments cannot be kept. They conflict with one another.
Well…here’s my theory – the command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was a condition of living in the Garden of Eden and being in the presence of God.
God created Adam and Eve, He gave them the commandment, then he planted the Garden of Eden for them and placed them there. The Lord also dwelt in the Garden of Eden, and Adam and Eve could essentially “hang out” with the Lord – face to face, in the flesh. They were not mortal. They were not fallen. They were still “clean” and capable of enduring the presence of God.
When Satan tempted Eve with the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he did so out of rebellion and to thwart the plan of God (he didn’t realize that her choosing to partake was essential in God’s plan of happiness for us!)
When Eve partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, it wasn’t out of rebellion. She still loved God, but she was seeking more. She wanted knowledge. She wanted happiness. Happiness was not a possibility before the fall – even in the idyllic Garden of Eden. Adam’s and Eve’s eyes needed to be “opened” if they wanted to experience happiness or joy.
Though the two commandments seem paradoxical, and of course in some ways they are, I don’t think that they were a set-up. Instead, I think it was probably a point of maturation. God created Adam and Eve. He gave them a commandment to multiply and replenish the earth. They had a purpose. Being new creatures, they were not really aware of their purpose the moment they were created.
The Lord put them in a place of safety where Adam and Eve could start having experiences and learn about this new world. However, because this was a place of relative safety, and with very little opposition (the only opposition being the fruit of the tree of knowledge and that serpent!), it was not a place that they could grow – long term. They lacked opposition and would also lack knowledge. They couldn’t have a family there.
It wasn’t until they were ready that the fruit started to appeal to Eve.
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it became pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make her wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and also gave unto her husband with her, and he did eat.” – Moses 4:12
We don’t know how long Adam and Eve dwelled in the Garden. But we know at some point, Eve finally saw the fruit of the tree as desirable. Why? Because she sought wisdom. And though the serpent beguiled her into thinking that if she ate she wouldn’t die, it was a blessing that she partook. She wouldn’t have knowledge or wisdom without this choice to leave her parents and strike out on her own.
The fall was a critical part of God’s plan for our happiness. Adam’s and Eve’s having knowledge was a critical part of God’s plan for our happiness. Adam’s and Eve’s ability to procreate and bring children into this world was a critical part of God’s plan for our happiness!
Finally, I love what we learn from Adam and Eve themselves:
And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.
And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.” – Moses 5:10-11
We can join in Adam’s and Eve’s praise for the fall. Without it, we wouldn’t exist. We wouldn’t have knowledge. We wouldn’t have joy. And we wouldn’t have the chance at eternal life with our Father in Heaven.