“Because of My Transgression My Eyes Are
The Fall of Adam and Eve and its effects on them and us.
The Atonement of Jesus Christ saves us from physical and spiritual death.
Adam and Eve begin life as mortals, bear children, teach them the gospel,
and worship and obey God.
A study of this lesson will help us understand that the Fall was a necessary
part of Heavenly Father’s plan for us.
Scripture references for study: Moses 4;
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
notes: Click on links for expanded information.
Lesson 4 Handout (PDF
The Fall Of Adam & Eve
After being placed in the garden, Adam and Eve were given two important
The Account of the Fall:
"And I, God, blessed them, and said unto them:
Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it"
"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil, thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself,
for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day
thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Moses 3:17).
As long as Adam and Eve did not partake of the forbidden fruit, they would
remain in the garden. They were left with a dilemma. They could
not fulfill the commandment to "multiply and replenish the earth"
without breaking the commandment not to partake of the forbidden fruit.
WHAT WERE THE EFFECTS OF THE FALL ON ADAM AND EVE AND FOR ALL MANKIND?
MOSES 4:6-12. Adam and Eve partake of the
The fall was a necessary part of the eternal plan. As
we consider this account, we are left wondering why Satan would assist
the Lord in the accomplishment of this important step in the eternal plan
of the Father.
President Joseph Fielding Smith: "Lucifer
did not know all the purposes of the Father as we learn from the Pearl
of Great Price, Moses 4:6. Therefore the Lord used Satan's evil acts
to accomplish his own purposes." (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:225)
Eve told Satan that if they were to partake of the fruit, they
should die (v9). "The serpent said unto the woman: Ye shall not surely
die" (v10). Though Adam and Eve would be subject to mortal
death, the plan of eternal life would be initiated.
Elder John A. Widtsoe: "One thing must be kept
in mind: The fall was not a sin in the usually accepted sense of that word.
It was a necessary act in a series of acts by which ultimately all men
will win an eternal possession of their earth-bodies. In the gospel sense,
the fall of Adam brought life, not death, into man's eternal existence."
(Evidences & Reconciliations, p73)
MOSES 4:13-31. The consequences of the
After partaking of the fruit, Adam and Eve discovered that they were naked.
With that discovery, they made "aprons" of fig leaves (v13).
"Satan's declaration spoken from out of the mouth
of the serpent that if Adam and his wife, Eve, would eat of the fruit that
was forbidden, their eyes would be opened, was quickly realized by them.
But not as they expected. Their physical vision was unimpaired, it having
been created perfect by God. However their ability to discern things whether
they were right or wrong was a mental one. Their power of perception was
psychological. Through it they became aware of their nakedness. To hide
their shame they took large leaves of the fig tree and fastened them together
to fashion themselves aprons. A recurring sense of guilt haunted their
consciences; that court of righteous and holy decisions which was folded
up in their bosoms. Disobedience to God's laws is the act wherein the conscience
is first awakened, and of it, both Adam and Eve were guilty."
(Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price, p145)
While walking in the garden, they heard the voice of God and hid themselves
in the trees (v14).
The Lord called to Adam. Adam said that he had partaken of the fruit
of the tree that had been given to him by Eve (v15-18).
Eve confesses to have partaken of the fruit after having been tempted by
the serpent (v19).
The Lord tells the serpent, Eve, and Adam the consequences of their transgression
Adam and Eve to be sent out of the garden (v28-31).
HOW CAN A CORRECT UNDERSTANDING OF THE FALL HELP US DURING MORTALITY?
- As we discuss the effects of the fall upon the human family it is significant
to note that, unlike traditional Christian teachings, the results are positive.
It is all part of the eternal plan to help us achieve our ultimate destiny. President Marion G. Romney: "I do not look
upon Adam's action as a sin. I think it was a deliberate act of free agency.
He chose to do that which had to be done to further the purposes of God"
(CR, Apr 1953).
Adam and Eve were able to have children, thus opening the door for us to
come to the earth and receive mortal bodies.
"Because that Adam fell, we are" (Moses
"And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and
was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have
had seed" (Moses 5:11).
"Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that
they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "Except for the
fall, the earth would not be peopled; we would still be in the pre-existence
living as spirits, and that agency and those trials we now possess would
not be. There would be no redemption from death, no immortality, no eternal
life, no salvation of any sort. The purposes of God would thus be frustrated
and come to naught." (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith,
We experience physical death, or separation of the physical body from the
"Because that Adam fell, we are; and by his fall
came death" (Moses 6:48).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "After the creation came
the fall; after all things had been created, all things fell. The fall was as
universal as the creation. It included man, the earth, and all forms of life.
Through the fall, all things passed downward to a lower status; they lost the
station and dignity that once was theirs and were changed from the primeval and
paradisiacal state to their present mortal state. This change from a deathless
to a mortal state brought with it all things that appertain to mortality,
including procreation, disease, suffering, and death. None of these existed on
this earth prior to the fall." (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith,
Resource Note 2.
We experience spiritual death, or separation from God's presence.
"...because man became fallen they were cut off
from the presence of the Lord" (2 Nephi 9:6).
WHY WAS THIS NECESSARY?
"And to bring about his eternal purposes in the
end of man, after he had created our first parents...it must needs be that
there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the
tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter. Wherefore, the
Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could
not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or
the other." (2 Nephi 2:15-16)
President Harold B. Lee: "Next to life itself, free
agency is God's greatest gift to mankind, providing thereby the greatest
opportunity for the children of God to advance in this second estate of
mortality. A prophet-leader on this continent explained this to his son as
recorded in an ancient scripture: that to bring about these, the Lord's eternal
purposes, there must be opposites, an enticement by the good on the one hand and
by the evil on the other." (Stand Ye In Holy Places, p235)
We are partakers of misery and woe.
"Because that Adam fell, we are; and by his fall
came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe" (Moses
"Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply
thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children;
and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy
wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou
shalt not eat of it: cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt
thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life" (Genesis 3:16-17).
HOW CAN THIS POSSIBLY BE A GOOD THING? HOW MANY OF US ENJOY BEING
PARTAKERS OF MISERY AND WOE?
"...they taste the bitter, that they may know
to prize the good" (Moses 6:55).
Elder George Q. Morris: "There is the key
to the question of evil. If we cannot be good, except as we resist and
overcome evil, then evil must be present to be resisted. So this earth
life is set up according to true principles, and these conditions that
followed the transgression were not, in the usual sense, penalties that
were inflicted upon us. All these that I have named to you that seem to
be sad inflictions of punishment, sorrow, and trouble are in the end not
that. They are blessings. We have attained a knowledge of good and evil,
the power to prize the sweet, to become agents unto ourselves, the power
to obtain redemption and eternal life. These things had their origin in
this transgression. The Lord has set the earth up so we have to labor if
we are going to live, which preserves us from the curse of idleness and
indolence; and though the Lord condemns us to death -- mortal death --
it is one of the greatest blessings that comes to us here because it is
the doorway to immortality, and we can never attain immortality without
dying." (CR, Apr. 1958)
President Spencer W. Kimball: "If we looked
at mortality as the whole of existence, then pain, sorrow, failure, and
short life would be calamity. But if we look upon life as an eternal thing
stretching far into the premortal past and on into the eternal post-death
future, then all happenings may be put in proper perspective.
"Is there not wisdom in
his giving us trials that we might rise above them, responsibilities that
we might achieve, work to harden our muscles, sorrows to try our souls?
Are we not exposed to temptations to test our strength, sickness that we
might learn patience, death that we might be immortalized and glorified?
"If all the sick for whom
we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked
destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic
principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended. No man would have
to live by faith.
"If joy and peace and rewards
were instantaneously given the doer of good, there could be no evil—all
would do good but not because of the rightness of doing good. There would
be no test of strength, no development of character, no growth of powers,
no free agency, only satanic controls." (Faith Precedes the
We are capable of sinning.
"Behold Satan hath come among the children of
men, and tempteth them to worship him; and men have become carnal, sensual,
and devilish, and are shut out from the presence of God" (Moses
This is one of the most frustrating things about mortality, especially
as one begins to learn the commandments and strive for perfection. If it isn't one thing, it is another. We all, in one way or another,
sin on a daily basis.
We lose patience with a child.
We waste time.
We do not care for our physical body as we should.
We do not complete a task to the best of our ability.
We neglect to read the Book of Mormon as a prophet has commanded.
We exceed the speed limit.
None of these are major transgressions, but they are sins and keep us from
progressing. I get frustrated with myself when I give into temptation. And yet, though sin itself is negative, to be tempted, tested, and tried
is necessary and positive in the eternal scheme of things.
I am reminded of when I first trained to run a marathon (26.2 miles) in
the spring of 1985. I trained throughout the fall, winter, and spring
of 1984-85. Physically, it was the most demanding time of my life.
To be physically prepared to run the distance there were certain things
I needed to do on a regular basis. Most importantly, I needed to
run regularly. As time progressed, I ran further and more frequently. I also needed to get sufficient sleep and rest, eat a reasonable diet,
and keep a positive attitude. I also read running magazines to improve
my attitude and find out what it would take to complete the distance.
During those months of training I often was "tempted" to not run
and sometimes I gave in. I was tired, it was too cold, it was raining
(a frequent temptation since I was living in the Pacific Northwest), dinner smelled good, etc. Sometimes I
did not get enough rest or eat properly. I "sinned"
against the rules for achieving the goal. At times I became so frustrated
with my weaknesses, I felt like quitting.
How was it that these temptations were positive? I learned from the
experience. If I did not run for a few days, I found that returning
to running was difficult. I discovered the price I would pay if I
did not get sufficient sleep. Over time, I became more physically
and mentally disciplined. I became a better person by learning to
overcome the challenges I faced.
I struggled through that first marathon, but the growth I received through
facing the challenges and adversity led me to become a become a better
runner and a better person. The next time I ran a marathon, my training
period was more efficient and I did better. By the time I did my
fifth marathon, I had my training down to a science. I learned by
dealing with the challenges and mistakes.
If we are to achieve our eternal destiny, we must be faced with adversity
and the chance to sin. By dealing with temptation and sin, we become
stronger and better prepared to stand in our eternal place. Completing
a marathon does not just happen. And becoming like our Heavenly Father
does not just happen.
The ground is cursed, causing us to work.
"...cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow
shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles
shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the
ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust
shalt thou return" (Genesis 3:17-19).
IS THIS POSITIVE? WHY?
In our time, lotteries have become a part of modern life. Millions
spend their hard earned dollars in hopes of winning the lottery. When asked, many say that they would quit their jobs. When I
a co-worker what he would do if he won the "big one" he responded that
he would retire, relax, and play video games. There are many
stories of people winning huge lottery jackpots only to have their lives
There is something of value in hard work. It makes us better people. I think we are more honest with ourselves and those around us. As
we serve through our labor we bless the lives of others.
I have read accounts of islands in the Pacific where fruit grows abundantly and
fish are plentiful. Little effort was necessary to obtain the necessities
of life. Those societies stagnated for hundreds, even thousands of
years. America, the greatest nation in the history of the world,
was built by men and women who worked hard. A civilization was carved
out of raw wilderness. The efforts of our pioneer fathers and mothers
provided for us the finest standard of living, the greatest scientific,
technological, and engineering advances known to man. If we were
still in the garden, we might still be like those islanders.
President J. Reuben Clark, Jr: "Work is
a great thing. It is the law of this earth. When Adam was cast out, upon
him was passed the glorious sentence, 'In the sweat of thy face shalt thou
eat bread.' Man as he is would not and could not have existed except for
the promulgation of this law. Work is a wonderful thing, no matter what
that work may be. . . . If we can just get into our minds the dignity and
the honor of work, no matter what that work may be, most of the ills from
which we suffer will be solved. During the whole range of man's existence
there has never yet been any plan by which men may live righteously in
idleness, and no such plan, it is my faith, will ever be devised."
(CR, Oct 1936)
President Spencer W. Kimball: "Through the
ages there have been many laws repealed, but we know of no divine repeal
of the law of work. From the obscure life organs within the body to the
building of the moon landing craft, work is one of the conditions of being
alive. We have been told that everyday work is a purposeful activity requiring
an expenditure of energy with some sacrifice of leisure. Sir William Osler,
a great physician of Canada, said that work is the master word in ongoing
life. It's the touchstone of progress, the measure of success, and the
fount of hope. It is directly responsible, he said, for all advantages
in medicine and technology." (Ensign, May 1976, p126)
We learn to recognize good and evil.
"And it is given unto them to know good from evil"
WHY IS THIS NECESSARY?
"Behold, the man is become as one of us to know
good and evil" (Moses 4:28).
"...wherefore they are agents unto themselves"
How can we possibly progress without this knowledge and the opportunity
Elder Sterling W. Sill: "In denying our
own responsibility, we frequently blame Satan for much of the misery that
we are bringing upon ourselves. Satan has no power over us except as we
give it to him. And temptations without imply desires within; and rather
than say, 'How powerfully the devil tempts,' we might say, 'How strongly
I am inclined.' God never forces us to do right, and Satan has no power
to force us to do wrong. As someone has said, 'God always votes for us
and Satan always votes against us, and then we are asked to vote to break
the tie.' It is how we vote that gives our lives their significance."
(CR, Apr 1970)
We can have joy in mortality.
"Blessed be the name of God, for because of my
transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy"
"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" (2
Nephi 2:23, 25).
We have discussed the challenges of life: a mortal body subject to pain,
illness, and death; spiritual death or separation from God; partakers of
misery and woe; sin; working to provide for ourselves and our family. Lehi
tells us that we are, that we "might have joy." The Prophet
Joseph Smith said that "Happiness is the object
and design of our existence" (HC, 5:134-135).
HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE JOY AND HAPPINESS AS WE FACE THE VICISSITUDES
OF LIFE? WHAT BRINGS US JOY?
We can know the joy of our redemption and obtain eternal life.
"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"
The fall made redemption necessary, but it also made eternal life possible. This is our greatest hope and comfort.
As I prepared this lesson outline and reviewed the results of the fall,
I was impressed at how the fall and its subsequent consequences are all
part of the eternal plan, designed by a loving Father, to assist us in
returning to his presence and becoming like him.
As we face the hills and valleys of life, this knowledge can motivate us
to stay on the correct path and to "run with patience
the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1).
Satan attempted to frustrate Heavenly Father's plan by getting Adam and
Eve to partake of the fruit. It is important for us to remember that
Satan cannot have power over us, as long as we seek to do the will of the
"The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God
cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught" (D&C
The Atonement Of Jesus Christ Saves Us From Physical
& Spiritual Death
"The Son of God hath atoned for original guilt,
wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the
children" (Moses 6:54).
The prophets often teach about the atonement of Jesus Christ when they
teach about the fall. The fall and the atonement are inseparably linked in the eternal
The fall came by "reason of transgression" (v59). It is the fall which brings death. This death refers not only to
physical death, but also to spiritual death.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
We do not have to pay the price for the sin of Adam and Eve.
Through their transgression we will suffer physical death, but Christ will
make us whole in the flesh. We will be resurrected as perfect physical
beings because of his death and resurrection. We qualified for the
resurrection when we accepted the plan of Heavenly Father during the Council
WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT THE FALL AND THE ATONEMENT?
HOW IS SPIRITUAL DEATH OVERCOME?
Turn to the Lord, hearken to his voice, and believe (v52).
Repent of your transgressions (v52, 57).
Birth into the kingdom by water - baptism (v52, 59).
Birth into the kingdom by the Spirit - receive the gift of the Holy Ghost
Be cleansed from our sins by the blood of Jesus Christ. As Nephi
stated so clearly, "we know that it is by grace
that we are saved, after all we can do" (2 Ne. 25:23).
President Ezra Taft Benson: "As further
noted in this scripture, the fundamental doctrines consist of the doctrine
of the Fall, the mission of Christ and His atonement, and the first principles
and ordinances of the gospel, which include faith in Christ, repentance,
baptism for a remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost as the
means to a sanctified life. (Moses 6:57-59)." (Teachings of
Ezra Taft Benson, p297)
President Benson: "... the plan of redemption must start with
the account of the fall of Adam. In the words of Moroni, 'By Adam came
the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ . . .
and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man.' (Mormon 9:12.)
Just as a man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does
not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ.
No one adequately and properly knows why he needs Christ until he understands
and accepts the doctrine of the Fall and its effect upon all mankind."
(Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p28)
Because of our mortal nature, we often make mistakes that negatively impact
our view of life. Some years ago, Elder Sterling W. Sill spoke about
this in General Conference: "Because we
draw so much from the rebellion, weakness, and evil with which we are surrounded,
we tend to load ourselves up too heavily with guilt complexes, mental problems,
insecurity, and mediocrity. I recently heard of a man who compounded the
problem by hoarding his mistakes. He often referred to the fact that his
D.F.T. drawer was the largest file in his office. Someone once asked him
what these file letters stood for, and he said they identified a collection
of the damn fool things that he had done."
Most of us have D.F.T. files that burden us down
and sometimes become the cause for our frustration in working out our salvation. Elder Sill goes on to remind us of some important principles related to
the fall and the atonement:
"Henry Thoreau, an early American philosopher,
once said that we should thank God every day of our lives for the privilege
of having been born. And then he went on to speculate on the rather unique
supposition of what it might have been like if we had not been born. Just
suppose that you had never been born or that your parents had never been
born. Think of all of the excitement and opportunities you would have missed
as a consequence. What Mr. Thoreau may not have known was that one-third
of all of the children of God never were born and never can be born because
they failed to pass the requirements of their first estate."
As to the adversity we face in life, Elder Sill quoted
an unknown poet:
The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing.
The man who never had to toil to live,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began.
Good timber does not grow at ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees.
The further sky, the greater length,
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, in rain and snow,
in trees and men good timbers grow.
Where thickest lies the forest growth
We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold council with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
This is the common law of life.
"Eight years after I was born, I learned something
about the great principle of repentance by which we can clear out our D.F.T.
files and be born again. And so, on August 27, 1911, I was born of the
water and of the Spirit in the exact manner prescribed by the Savior of
the world. I became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints and had the gift of the Holy Ghost officially conferred upon me."
(CR, Apr 1971)
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we have been endowed with great
knowledge about the "fall" of man. We fill our D.F.T. files because
of our fallen, mortal nature. Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, we can
clear out these D.F.T. files. We qualify for that atoning grace
as we are obedient to the will of the Lord and follow the path he has prescribed,
including baptism and the ongoing process of repentance. I often
wonder how those without this marvelous knowledge continue through life
with the burden of their D.F.T. files. That knowledge gives us great
hope and I stand in awe that Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for
our benefit. "I marvel that he would descend
from his throne divine To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine;
That he should extend his great love unto such as I, Sufficient to own,
to redeem, and to justify" (Hymn 193).
Adam and Eve Begin Life As Mortals
MOSES 5:1-3. Adam and
Eve begin the struggles of Mortality.
- WHAT DID ADAM AND EVE DO AFTER THEY WERE CAST OUT OF THE GARDEN? AND HOW
WERE THEIR LIVES SIMILAR TO OURS?
- They began to till the earth and their bread was earned by their
- This was a complete reversal from life in the garden where there was
no necessity to work for food. Adam and Eve now had to labor for their
bread by the sweat of their brows. It was not the easy life they enjoyed
after leaving the Garden of Eden, yet it was a blessing. Life in the Garden would
never have changed and there would have been no progress. Though
difficult, they were given a great blessing and we are the inheritors of
- Heber J. Grant: "I assert with confidence
that the law of success, here and hereafter, is to have a humble and a
prayerful heart, and to work, work, WORK." (Gospel Standards,
- They bore children and thus, began people the earth.
- A second great blessing of their new life outside of the Garden was
the opportunity of have sons and daughters. Like laboring for bread,
it is not an easy thing to go through the pain of bearing children
and then to dedicate much of one's life to rearing those children. And yet,
it is the work of eternity to bring spirits to this earth so that they
may continue their eternal progression.
- It is interesting to note that so often in today's culture these two
great blessings are treated as curses. Many long for an Eden like life
wherein they do not have to labor for food nor rear and raise a family.
Lotteries and get-rich-quick schemes have become increasingly prevalent.
More and more adults are not taking on the responsibility of families. Satan
has created a great deception and we must remember that which has been
proclamed, "We declare that God’s commandment for
His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force."
(Proclamation on the Family)
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
- Though we are subject to the challenges and temptations of mortality, as
Elder Sill indicates, we have the opportunity to clean out our DFT files
through repentance and faith in the Lord's atoning sacrifice.
- Record your thoughts on the fall of Adam and Eve and the profound effects
of the atonement of Jesus Christ. What does it mean in your life?
Resources Used In This Lesson
A New Witness for the Articles of Faith by Bruce R. McConkie.
Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price by George Reynolds and Janne M.
Conference Reports (CR).
Doctrines of Salvation, Volume 2, by Joseph Fielding Smith.
Evidences & Reconciliations by John A. Widtsoe.
Faith Precedes the Miracle by Spencer W. Kimball.
Gospel Standards: Selections From the Sermons and Writings of Heber J. Grant
compiled by G. Homer Durham.
History of the Church (HC).
Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage.
Stand Ye In Holy Places by Harold B. Lee.
Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding
The Mediation and Atonement by John Taylor.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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