Sunday, July 19, 2009

A More Excellent Way

I have some Evangelical friends who have had more questions about what LDS teach about the Fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden. While in the Garden of Eden Satan convinced Eve that she should partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The major argument Satan used to beguile Eve was by telling her that they "shall be as gods knowing good and evil."

Gen. 3: 5, 22 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. . . And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil:

The Book of Mormon comments on the Fall was necessary to obey the first commandment. Had Adam never fallen, they would never have had children. My Evangelical friends complain that Book of Mormon is wrong in teaching that Eve's disobedience was somehow necessary. According to them, God would not give commandments that He would not prepare a way for them to obey without having to disobey. This is an interesting argument for them to make seeing how many Evangelicals view the Law of Moses as exactly that; a series of commandments that are impossible to obey.

2 Nephi 2: 22-23;25 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. . . Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

First off, the Book of Mormon teaches that God never gives a commandment without preparing a way to keep the commandment. Therefore, what I believe the Book of Mormon was not teaching that sin was necessary, what the Book of Mormon was teaching was that opposition, eating the fruit, and falling was necessary. Sin itself is never necessary. It is Satan and False Religion that give us false dichotomies. There is always another way. What is that other way? Maybe the command to not eat the fruit was temporary and Adam and Eve could have asked permission later. I speculate the fruit induced a change in their bodies that would have started cellular division within them necessary for procreation and at the same time eventually led to their death from telomere shortening and dna mutation.

1 Ne. 3: 7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

While I think there is always another way, I think this is how things have worked out on all planets. God put Adam and Eve in the Garden, gave them the commandments, and allowed Lucifer to tempt them. God knew what was going to happen but didn't design a plan requiring Adam and Eve to sin but designed a plan to save them knowing they would transgress.

And that leads me to the next point. Eating the fruit wasn't sin, it was transgression. Remember that Adam didn't know right from wrong until after they had partaken of the fruit. Yet God still had to warn them. Imagine another adult coaxing a 3-year-old to do something their parents warned them never to do like touching a hot pan on the stove. If another adult comes along and convinces a child to touch the hot pan, the sin be upon the irresponsible adult and not the trusting child. Additionally, the child's innocence doesn't mean the parents shouldn't warn their children of danger. Even though sin wasn't laid to Adams charge on this issue, there still were very real temporal consequences. And the sin would have been on the parent if God had not given warning despite the fact that Adam and Eve were innocent. This isn't to say Adam and Eve never sinned. I am sure they sinned plenty following the first transgression.

Additionally, sin is not is not a very good efficient way to gain knowledge. In fact, sin doesn't impart any knowledge. Only the consequences of sin teach. But, Christ Himself gave us the true example on how to gain wisdom by showing us a more excellent way. Christ didn't have to sin Himself to learn, but he did have to experience the consequences of sin to learn. Therefore, Christ learned by taking upon himself the sins of others and descending below all things. To put it simply, a smart person learns from his own mistakes but a wise person learns from the mistakes of others. Sin is not necessary to learn, you can learn like Christ did by emulating the Father, mourning with those that mourn, taking upon himself the sins of others, or you can learn from the Spirit which knoweth all things.

Alma 7: 13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

John 5: 19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

Again, sin doesn't teach, it's the consequences of sin that teach. But, the other path and the more excellent way is to stop learning from the consequences of your own sins and start learning as Christ, by observing what His Father did, from others mistakes, and from the Spirit which knoweth all things. If we do sin, it is not sin that teaches anything, its the consequences of sin that teach us that sin isn't worth it. But, until we start really learning in Christ-like ways, we will never really begin meaningful progression.

1 comment:

Jeff Walsh said...

Adam could not sin in the garden of Eden, he did not know how to.

According to Moses 5:13 sin did not enter the world until at least 3 generations from Adam.

Heavenly Father gave Adam and Eve a formula for staying in the garden, simply do not eat the fruit of a certain tree, the consequence of doing so they would be cast out of the garden and would surely die. So Adam and Eve did not commit sin in the garden they transgressed the law for staying there.

Heavenly Father knew that they would choose to do this so that the command to have children could be brought about, in fact we are told that in the planning council before man's habitation of the earth a Saviour had been provided for for this very eventuality.

As far as the organising of the bodies of Adam and Eve, Moses 6:59 explains how this was brought about, President Brigham Young taught us this. Jeff Walsh