Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lesson of the Forbidden Fruit

Recently, I was pondering about the lesson of Adam and Eve and I realized a few the important lessons for our day in the story. Scripture teaches us that "the glory of God is intelligence or in other words light and truth." We know from scripture that Omnipotence is one of the supreme characteristics of God and we are also taught in scripture that perfect knowledge is both a promise and requirement of Eternal Life. Joseph Smith taught that "man cannot be saved in ignorance" and that "A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge". Jesus Christ promised that "the truth would make us free." Therefore, the quest for true knowledge must be a major focus of any true disciple of Jesus Christ.

When Adam and Eve are tempted to Eat the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve did not yet know good from evil. Knowing this, the serpent mocks their ignorance and then promises them greater knowledge if they would follow him and partake of the forbidden fruit. I am sure Adam and Eve felt very insecure and self-conscious about their ignorance. But instead of seeking knowledge as Nephi did by inquiring of the Lord, Adam and Eve made the mistake of going to the wrong source for greater knowledge. In the Book of Mormon, after Lehi told his family about the Vision of the Tree of Life, Laman and Lemuel sought to understand the vision by contending and debating the issues. In contrast, Nephi who was also shown the same vision, simply asked his brethren "Have ye inquired of the Lord?"

After Adam and Eve partook of the fruit, Satan encouraged them to attempt to hide what they have done from God. I would define a secret combination as the vain attempt to commit sin in secret. Therefore, in a way, this first transgression could also be seen as the first secret combination. In fact, God tells us in the Book of Mormon that God has forbidden us from entering into secret combinations from the beginning of man. Isaiah prophecies that in the Last Days there would be many secret combinations. Isaiah says that men involved in secret sin would ask, "Who seeth us and who knoweth us?" Instead of trying to hide our sins from God, God commands us that we bring them to light and confess them and forsake them.

Ether 8:19 For the Lord worketh not in secret combinations, neither doth he will that man should shed blood, but in all things hath forbidden it, from the beginning of man.

Now, there is much more we can learn from the first sin. Another lesson focuses on Eve. Like Eve, most of us don't go around seeking to sin and hide it from God who we know knows and sees all things. However, the serpent is very crafty in fooling or beguiling Eve. Satan explains to Eve that God knows all things and to be like God, she too needs to know sin in order to be like God. While the dilemma is a real one, the solution was a suttle trap to get Adam Eve to partake of the tree of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil and then go ahead and partake of the tree of life and "live forever in their sins." Eve wasn't "awake" to the possibility that Satan could have ulterior and evil intentions. To her, I'm sure she was very trusting and naive and while her decision to partake of the fruit was based on good intentions, Eve failed to recognize and understand that Satan was evil and had only evil intentions.

Today, we need to be "awake" to the reality of evil and conspiring men in the Last Days. One of Satan's biggest tools is to identify real social problems and instead of providing real solutions, many secret societies solutions end up making things much worse. I suppose this continual attempt to address real or created social problems could be likened to Satan telling Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness with fig leaves. Today, many secret organizations who may not have the best intentions often seek to shroud their sins behind the facade of philanthropy.

Again, In addition to being "awake" to the reality of conspiring men in the Last Days, I think another of many important lessons of the forbidden fruit is that we must take care who we follow. Not everyone claiming to offer truth is deserving of our allegiance. One way to differentiate good vs. evil is to determine, despite the many good things a group claims to do for society, whether they use those activities to justify and cover up other sins.

1 comment:

{ Bethany } said...

Interesting, but I don't agree. This was the plan from the very beginning. None of us would be here otherwise, it wasn't a 'mistake'. It couldn't have been done by going to God Himself. It was supposed to happen that way.

I much more identify with the theologies that place Adam and Eve in a better light, as, they weren't sinning, but merely choosing to progress. I think the version you bring is taking the story too literally.