Moses Chapter 4 (June-October 1830) Adam and Eve in the Garden
Moses 4 Satan Tempts Adam and Eve in the Garden
Moses 4:5-12 Satan=s Temptation of Eve in the Garden by the Serpent
Moses 4 is the continuing account of Adam and Eve's experiences in the Garden of Eden, particularly their experiences with Satan.
verses 1-4 Generally speaking, most members of the Church understand that there was one Grand Council held in the premortal world in connection with the creation of the earth. Another view is that there is scriptural evidence of two separate Grand Councils of the Gods. It is notable that the verses that describe these two grand councils have no counterpart in the book of Genesis. From the writings of Joseph Smith, we have evidence of another three grand councils. Let us summarize these five grand councils.
1. The first Grand Council of the Gods. Prior to our earth's existence, a council of the Gods was held, and we were not in attendance. We have no scriptural record of this council, but the prophet Joseph Smith was permitted to see this first council in open vision. He observed that it convened "in Kolob" (James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, volume 1, 161). He taught that it was there that "the Gods came together and concocted the plan of making the world and the inhabitants. . . . The Grand Councilors sat in yonder heavens and contemplated the creation of the worlds that were created at the time. . . . [Then] the heads of Gods appointed one God for us" (Ehat & Cook, The Words of Joseph Smith, Joseph Smith Diary, by W. Richards: 7 April 1844, 341). After experiencing untold eons of preparation and training, our Father in Heaven was invited to this first Council of the Gods to receive his ordination as our God and Creator. He was, among other things, given the power to beget a family of spirit children. Brigham Young described this process: "After men have got their exaltations and their crowns-have become Gods, even the sons of God-are made Kings of kings and Lords of lords, they have the power given them of propagating their species in spirit; and that is the first of their operations with regard to organizing a world" (JD, 6:275). We may speculate that our Father was then assigned a place and sufficient intelligences and unorganized matter to create his universe.
2. The second Grand Council of the Gods was held when it was time to relocate the Father's spirit family to a spirit globe of their own. In this council our Father was ordained with the authority to organize a spirit earth.
3. The third Grand Council was convened after our Heavenly Father had received his formal assignment to create a physical mortal earth. Here the entire earth experience was laid out in a comprehensive planning session involving the Master Creators of the universe. Physical details of the earth had to be determined. For example, how large was the earth to be? The size of the physical earth was not arbitrary. Its dimensions and proportions were determined beforehand (Job 38:4-5). Joseph Smith referred to this planning council when he wrote that "those things which the Father ordained of old, before the world was or a system had run [were planned for, including], what was, and now is, and is yet to be" (James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, volume 1, 161).
4. The fourth Grand Council of the Gods was held after the plans for the creation of the physical earth were completed. The spirit creation was complete, and the Father's spirit family was settled on the spirit earth. It was now time to embody the spirit earth with physical matter. Before this process could be begun, another Grand Council was necessary. Moses did not record the proceedings of this Council. However, Abraham was permitted to see it and report that all of us were present at this convocation (Abraham 4:1-25). This council likely was not convened until a very long time had elapsed following the creation of the spirit earth. This council could have been held on the spirit earth, or perhaps it was held on the celestial planet. Moses was told that this fourth council occurred "in heaven." One of the uses for the term "heaven" is to designate the spirit earth (Moses 3:5), but the celestial home of the Father may also be so designated. He is, after all, our Father in heaven. Two important subjects were on the agenda. First, someone had to be chosen to direct the creation of the physical earth. This same individual would eventually be called upon to atone for the sins of mankind so that the children of God would have the opportunity to eventually return to their celestial home. Second, we needed to consider the details of the creation of the physical earth itself. This physical earth was to be a carefully designed planetary environment where the human family could obtain a physical body and experience for themselves the lessons of mortality. Little did we know that this family council would provoke an all-out war. For a detailed discussion of this council and its aftermath, see Abraham 3:24-28 and the commentary for those verses.
The only account of the physical preparation or creation of the earth is found in Abraham 4. Actually this account is really an account of the council that planned the physical earth. Since the details of the physical earth were reviewed, we may use this council agenda as the scriptural account of the physical creation.
5. The fifth Grand Council of the Gods (Moses 4:1-4; Abraham 4:26 through 5:3) convened on the celestial planet during the sixth creative period of the physical or preparatory creation (Abraham 4:26). The purpose of this Grand Council was to plan for the final (third) creation epoch-wherein the final physical preparations were made for the mortal earth and plans were made to introduce man and all the modern life forms into the earth. This council adjourned to the physical earth later in the sixth creative period (Abraham 4:27), and did not end until sometime during the seventh creation period (Abraham 5:3). It was during this council that Jehovah was selected to become the Savior of the world. The prophet Moses was shown this part of this final Grand Council (Moses 4:1-2). It was also during this council that the war in heaven occurred, and Satan and his minions were cast down to the earth (Moses 4:3-4). Since the beginning of the physical creation, Lucifer had been plotting and planning to gain control over the planet earth. We know that when he was rejected as the overseer for the construction of the physical earth, he became "angry," and "many followed after him" (Abraham 3:27-28).
Lucifer was emboldened in his quest for power by a few factors: (1) He had widespread support among the Father's spirit family. We can surmise from the scripture that fully one-third of them supported him. (2) He was a "son of the morning," meaning that he was likely one of the earliest born spirits, and therefore one of the more accomplished, among the Father's family. (3) He was also an "angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God" (D&C 76:25). The forces of righteousness that opposed Lucifer and his followers from the beginning of his rebellion were led by Michael, the archangel (Revelation 12:7). This is, of course, the same Michael who would soon descend through the veil of forgetfulness and become Adam, the first father of the human family on the physical earth. The culmination of this ideological confrontation was a "war in heaven" (Revelation 12:7).
It is notable that the writings of Moses (and Abraham) are brief on the subject of the premortal existence of man. Both sets of writings assume, on the part of the reader, a knowledge of pre-existence, foreordination, and heavenly councils. Joseph F. McConkie has written:
Though these doctrines are lost to the theology of the churches of our day they were common to the understanding of the ancient Saints and were well known to those of Abraham's and Moses' day. Indeed we find potsherds from these vessels of truth almost everywhere we start digging into the past. The Old Testament is replete with references to such doctrines, though they have been obscured by the ignorance of Bible translators. They are even more evident in Old Testament apocrypha; they are common to old Jewish sources; we find them woven into Greek thought, and even with surprising frequency in the Quran. They are also common to the New Testament and the writings of the apostolic fathers, though since the middle of the sixth century AD they have languished in a papal prison. In AD 553 the doctrine of the preexistence of the soul was dropped from Christianity by an edict known as the "Anathema against Origen." This was the work of the Roman Emperor Justinian; the Pope consented under extreme duress. Thereafter these doctrines have quietly slipped from the attention and interest of the religious world (Studies in Scripture, Volume 2, The Pearl of Great Price, 63).
How difficult it must be for the religious world to interpret Old and New Testament passages that refer to the premortal world, to the war in heaven, and the casting out of Satan and the third of the hosts of heaven. Consider the following passage from Isaiah: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit" (Isaiah 14:12-15). Consider also a passage from the Book of Revelation. It declares that there was a "war in heaven": "Michael [meaning Adam] and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 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" (Revelation 12:7-9). Then John the Revelator also said: "I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power [authority] of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night" (Revelation 12:10). The Revelator noted that the battle ground for a war that commenced in heaven had shifted to the earth, but the adversaries remained the same. Satan and his army, which consists of "the third part of the stars of heaven" or a third of that heavenly host that joined him in his rebellion, being cast out with him, continue their efforts to get all others to worship him as their Redeemer and their God (Consider also Jeremiah 1:5; Ephesians 1:1-4).
1 And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying-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.
verse 1 "I, the Lord God" Again, the Lord Jesus Christ is speaking to Moses here, but he is speaking as though were the Father by the principle of divine investiture of authority.
Here the Lord narrates as the first person, in contrast to the Genesis account (Genesis 2:8 to Genesis 3:24) which is narrated in the third person. The title "Lord God" refers to Jesus Christ and is associated with covenant making. This title characterizes the narrative from Moses 3:4 to 5:1 and Genesis 2:4 to 3:24. It is notable that the Creator in Genesis 1 and Moses 2 is "God" who is the Father, as opposed to "Lord God" who is the Son. The Creator for the spirit creation was not the Son, but rather the Father.
"whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten" This phrase seems to refer to Moses's encounter in Moses 1:15-18. Moses commanded Satan to "get thee hence" (Moses 1:16) and "depart hence" (Moses 1:18).
"That Satan . . . is the same which was from the beginning" This phrase suggests that in "the beginning" Satan enjoyed unusual access to the presence of God, a status hinted at in his title "a son of the morning" (D&C 76:27). It also hints that Satan, at the time of this revelation to the prophet Moses, did not enjoy that same favored status.
"here am I, send me" Satan is speaking. This same expression also appears in Abraham 3:27, where it is also spoken by Satan. The same phrase is also found in Isaiah 6:8 where it is spoken by the prophet. This Hebrew phrase forms a simple response to a question such as "Where are you?" Often this phrase carries the sense that the speaker is in the right path, ready to do the Lord's bidding (see Genesis 22:1; Genesis 22:7; Acts 9:10). Such is not the case here obviously.
Here Lucifer brazenly approached the throne of the Father and demanded to be appointed to be the Savior of the earth. This confrontation between the Father and Lucifer is not the same one that occurred earlier described in Abraham 3:24-28. In this earlier confrontation, which occurred during the fourth Grand Council in heaven (see the introductory commentary for verses 4:1-4 above), Lucifer presented himself "second" while in the current confrontation, the fifth Grand Council, Lucifer presented himself first. This is one piece of evidence that these scriptures represent different grand councils.
"I will be thy son" What Satan seems to be seeking is more than a title of respect. Here, the title "son" designates the one who will redeem, as his following words indicate-"I will redeem all mankind." We also detect some of the sibling jealousy that Satan held for the "Beloved Son" (Moses 4:2).
"one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it" Satan's plan included the idea of coercion-the removal of agency: effectively to force all God's children back into his presence. Moreover, we sense in these words an underlying arrogance that Satan is the only one capable of carrying out such an effort.
2 But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me-Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
verse 2 "my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning" Here Jesus Christ refers to himself in the third person as if he were the Father by the principle of divine investiture of authority. Jesus refers to himself as "my Beloved and Chosen." Jehovah has been both beloved of the Father and chosen of the Father since "the beginning." And when was "the beginning"? It was in the early stages of this round of the Father's creation.
"thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever" Note the deferential tone of the Lord which is much different than the tone of Satan who, in self-serving tones, affirmed, "I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor" (verse 1).
3 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;
verse 3 "Satan rebelled against me" Moses's recounting of this episode does not actually contain a direct account of the Father's choosing of Jehovah over Satan, as does Abraham 3:27. But his decision is implied in that he "caused that he [Satan] should be cast down."
"Satan . . . sought to destroy the agency of man" Lucifer's plan was to send us all to the earth as robots lacking agency; that is, without any capacity to act except as dictated by Lucifer himself. Since the Law of justice mandates that only "perfect" individuals without sins can return and live with the Father in his kingdom (D&C 1:31; D&C 76:69), Lucifer suggested, by virtue of his flawed logic, that we be sent to the earth and forced to adhere to the law. By his plan, there would be no risk of disobedience, and hence all would return to the Father's presence. While Lucifer promoted this as the perfect plan, he certainly knew in his heart that it was untenable. The principle of agency is absolute and sacrosanct our universe and even God himself cannot suspend our agency, let alone Satan. His preaching of this plan was largely a ploy to convince others and to get them to follow him and rebel against the Father. It was never a plan that was even considered by the Father. It was never in the running. Satan certainly must have been aware of that fact.
It is likely Satan's plan had roots in his own profound fears of coming into mortality. He had been informed of the basics of the impending mortal trial. He must have sensed his own profound character flaws and knew he would fail to return to his celestial home. If he were to consent to pass into mortality, he knew he would forfeit the ostensibly lofty position he enjoyed there. It seems likely that the "statistics" regarding the number of God's children who would successfully negotiate mortality and then return home ("strait is the gait and narrow is the way" and "few there be that find it"-Matthew 7:13-14) were well known to him, and he was frightened to risk it. Simply stated, Satan's "plan" originated in his own cowardice.
If we were to give Satan credit for being well informed and intelligent in a secular sense, we would credit him with knowing full well the nature of the agency of all intelligences. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that he sought not to remove man's agency because that would have been impossible, but rather he sought to render it invalid or unusable by completely removing men's freedoms; that is, by making all choices unavailable to them (see Agency and Freedom in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 1, chapter 13).
"which I, the Lord God, had given him" Did actually give to man his agency? Is man's agency a gift of God? Strictly speaking the Father did not give agency to mankind; as each of us has always existed and has always possessed our agency. But the Father, in his plan for us, is wont to allow many personal freedoms to mankind, so that each individual may work out his own salvation. While God does not give us our agency, he allows the free exercise of it by granting us the potential for possessing many freedoms.
"Satan . . . sought . . . that I should give unto him mine own power" It would not have been possible for God to have given to Satan his power, even if he had so desired. The basis of God's power is his "honor," that is the respect and obedience that is voluntarily given to God by all the intelligences in his universe (see The Power of God in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 1, chapter 14).
Since Lucifer's plan involved compulsion, it was rejected. He was therefore "angry" (Abraham 3:28), and he launched a campaign, even an all-out ideological war, for control of the planet earth and all of God's children.
"by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down" It is interesting to note that it was by the power of Jehovah and not by the power of the Father that Satan was "cast down." What does this really mean? Did Jehovah exercise his power to ensure that Satan was "cast down"? What is the nature of that power? What does it mean to be "cast down"?
The phrase "cast down" indicates that Satan was forced to a lower position, far from the exalted place of God. From other sources, we know that Satan took others with him: "at that day, many followed after him" (Abraham 3:28); "he had drawn away many after him" (Moses 4:6); and "a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he [Satan] away from me [God] because of their agency" (D&C 29:36; compare Revelation 12:4). It is not clear as to whether Satan and his followers were actually cast "down" from a heavenly realm to earth. It could be that the premortal spirits already lived on this earth rather than on the heavenly planet. In that case the phrase "cast down" would only refer to a loss of status. Are Satan and his followers confined to a certain place or station on this earth? Some have worried that he does not seem to be confined at all but has the ability to range freely over all the earth. He does not seem to be confined or imprisoned, even though he lives under certain eternal condemnation. It does seem likely, however, that he and his angels are excluded physically from the society of other spirit groups here on earth such as the premortal spirits and the post mortal spirits.
As we study the nature of God's power and the nature of agency and freedom, we learn that there is not much of actual coercion in the Father's plan. There is, however, some. This coercion occurs as freedoms (not agency) are limited through an individual's disobedience to law.
And what is the Savior's role in this loss of freedom? Because of the principle of freedom, there are choices which an individual simply cannot make. Even if he wanted to he could not. Thus, the use of his agency is compromised. Agency never was the God given right to do anything one wishes. Agency, again, is the right to choose among available alternatives. For example the unrepentant sinner is absolutely prevented from choosing to be resurrected with a celestial body and residing in the celestial kingdom. For the sinner, there are many spiritual options that are closed to him. And why should this be? Why is it right for some choices to be out of reach to any given individual? The answer is that it would not be fair, and it would violate the law of justice, if any individual had all choices automatically open to him.
And who is it that closes some choices to certain individuals? First, it is the Savior himself, into whose hands all judgment is placed (John 5:22). He will designate those who are worthy of exaltation, and he will plead their cases before those who enforce the demands of justice. He will also designate those who are unworthy for exaltation and must inherit a lesser degree of glory. Second, It is those who enforce the demands of justice. Justice must always be satisfied-in other words, every matter must be decided with perfect fairness. If an individual is unrepentant and eventually is worthy only of a lesser degree of glory, then he will receive that lesser degree of glory. There is no choice. The demands of justice must be met. Alma 42:22 reads: "But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God." The demands of justice will be met; this is absolute. Here is the coercion that exists in God's universe. We see evidence of some coercion otherwise. For example, "power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children" (D&C 29:46-47), suggesting that God has the ability to circumscribe or interfere with Satan's freedoms. We know that during the millennium he will be bound, and then loosed at the end of that period (see Revelation 20:2-3; Revelation 20:7; also D&C 43:31; D&C 45:55; D&C 88:110-111). We might say that the millennial binding of Satan is only due to the righteousness of the people alive on the earth during that period. It seems likely, however, that in some ways and in some circumstances, the Father and the Son may deliberately act to limit the choices Satan possesses.
4 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, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.
verse 4 "he became Satan . . . the devil, the father of all lies" Evidently Satan became fully who he is after his dismissal from the heavenly realm. In Hebrew, the root letters for Satan mean "adversary"-in this case the adversary of God. Lucifer became Satan following his rebellion. See The Role of Satan in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 1, chapter 16.
"to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice" Actually, to follow Satan and to fail to hearken unto the voice of God are not two separate things, but one and the same thing. Satan only has persuasive power over man when the man disobeys the law. As long as the man is obedient, or at least strives to be obedient, Satan has no power over him.
5 And now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which I, the Lord God, had made.
verse 5 The Genesis account resumes here at Genesis 3:1. The reader will note that we are no longer listing the verses in Genesis along side the verses in Moses. Genesis 3:1-24 correspond roughly to Moses 4:5-31, though the Moses account adds much that is not recorded in Genesis.
"the serpent was more subtle than any best of the field" The meaning of subtle here is cunning, wily, crafty. Satan will speak to Adam and Eve through the mouth of the serpent.
6 And Satan put it into the heart of the serpent, (for he had drawn away many after him,) and he sought also to beguile Eve, for he knew not the mind of God, wherefore he sought to destroy the world.
verse 6 "Satan put it into the heart of the serpent" According to Genesis 3:1, the serpent was the sole agent for tempting Eve. But this expression places Satan squarely at the center of this effort and affirms that he can exert some influence even in the animal kingdom (see verse 7).
Joseph Smith gave further information regarding the serpent and the fall. It is found in a report of Josiah Quincy, one time mayor of Boston, regarding his visit to Nauvoo in 1844, during which occasion he was shown a parchment by the prophet Joseph Smith:
The parchment . . . showed a rude drawing of a man and woman, and a serpent walking upon a pair of legs. I ventured to doubt the propriety of providing the reptile in question with this unusual means of locomotion. "Why, that's as plain as a pikestaff," was the rejoinder. "Before the Fall snakes always went about on legs, just like chickens. They were deprived of them, in punishment for their agency in the ruin of man (Figures of the Past [Boston, 1883], 386-87).
Whether the serpent is literal or figurative is really immaterial as far as the outcome is concerned. Eve was tempted and yielded. Adam yielded also, and the fall was initiated.
"he had drawn away many after him" This aside refers back to earlier events when Satan enticed others to follow him out of heaven.
"he sought also to beguile Eve" Satan singles out Eve, away from her husband, in an effort to undo God's purposes. Perhaps he sensed that she would quickly grasp the desirability of acquiring knowledge and would then be willing to take necessary action.
"he knew not the mind of God" Here is a profound truth regarding the condition of Satan. We are taught that "light and truth forsake that evil one" (D&C 93:37). Satan and his people are excluded from knowing spiritual truths and excluded from the promptings of the Holy Ghost which reveal the mind of God to man.
"he sought to destroy the world" Even though Satan's motive is clearly to thwart the purposes of God, we will learn that his actions sometimes inadvertently assist with God's purposes. Undoubtedly this is, as we have already learned, because he does not know the mind of God. For example, he will entice Adam and Eve to partake of the fruit of the tree of life, which will turn out to be essential for God's purposes here on earth.
7 And he said unto the woman: Yea, hath God said-Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (And he spake by the mouth of the serpent.)
8 And the woman said unto the serpent: We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden;
9 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.
verse 9 Eve is still the speaker in this verse.
"in the midst of the garden" This expression, and particularly the word midst, denotes a most sacred spot (see the commentary for Moses 7:69).
"Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it" God had previously warned Adam not to eat "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (Moses 3:17; Genesis 2:17). Adam and Eve also understood that they should not even touch the fruit of the tree. This understanding indicates that they comprehended enough about the nature of temptation to know that they should avoid any contact with that which tempts.
10 And the serpent said unto the woman: Ye shall not surely die;
verse 10 "Ye shall not surely die" We will learn that in his conversation with Eve, Satan will mix truth with lies. This statement is, of course, a lie. Partaking of the fruit will result in Adam and Eve's becoming mortal, and hence they will eventually die.
It would seem that Satan is attempting to appear to Adam and Eve as the Messiah, offering a promise that only the Messiah can offer, for it is the Messiah who will control the powers of life and death and can promise life, not Satan (see John 5:25-26; 2 Nephi 9:3-26). In this context is notable that Satan may well have chosen to speak to Adam and Eve through the mouth of the serpent because of the association of Jesus Christ with the symbol of the serpent. One obvious example, is the story in Numbers 21:4-9 wherein Moses uses the symbol of a serpent on the pole as a metaphor for the need for his people to look to Christ and live. The serpent's being placed upon a pole typified the eventual hanging of the Savior upon a cross. Moses was, in effect, lifting Christ up for all Israel to see. He was teaching them Jesus Christ. All those that look upon or accept Christ and his gospel shall be saved or exalted. Those who fail to do so will not. It is interesting to note that throughout the history of the world, many cultures have used the serpent as a symbol of either Deity or the devil. The symbol used by physicians today of the snake coiled about a pole likely had its origin in this story in the book of Numbers.
11 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.
verse 11 "then your eyes shall be opened" This is a truth. As a result of partaking of the fruit, Adam and Eve will acquired a more complete knowledge of good and evil. They then will be better able to exercise their moral agency. They will then become able to grow toward godhood by their obedience to the law.
"ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" In this statement there is some truth and some lie. This makes for an egregious deceit. Adam and Eve will not be as gods, rather will be merely fallen mortals. On the other hand, they will be as the gods in one sense-like the gods, they will have a full knowledge of good and evil. Eating the fruit of the tree will make her "wise."
12 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.
verse 12 "when the woman saw" In the Genesis text, the Hebrew verb translated saw in this passage (Hebrew ra'ah) is the same that describes God's earlier acts of seeing (see Genesis 1:4; Genesis 1:10; Genesis 1:12; Genesis 1:18; Genesis 1:25; Genesis 1:31). The implication is that, in this instant, Eve saw with celestial sight or discernment and thereby knew what she must do.
"a tree desired to make her wise" The "innocence" that characterized Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was not so much a freedom from blame or sin, but rather it was a limited knowledge of good and evil which prevented them from growing spiritually. Eve apparently understood the vital need to acquire spiritual wisdom at any cost (see D&C 6:7: "Seek . . . for wisdom, and behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you").
"she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat" The verb took clearly points to the initiative of the woman (see also Genesis 3:6). The fruit was not forced on her by another. While the sectarian religious world tends to view the actions of Eve and Adam as an egregious sin, we know that in fact it was a courageous deliberate choice with far-reaching consequences. The reader should keep in mind that Eve had to decide even though she did not possess full knowledge of good and evil. She was in a state of "innocence" which simply means that she lacked the knowledge of good and evil which would allow her to grow spiritually. Eve, then, weighed her choices and in her "veiled" condition chose to partake of the fruit and then persuaded her husband to do likewise.
"and he did eat" This implies that Adam also realized the necessity of their deliberately breaking this commandment so that they could bring children into the world. Their actions are typically referred to as the fall of Adam and Eve, meaning that they consequently fell from the presence of God and introduced mortality into the world.
13 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they had been naked. And they sewed fig-leaves together and made themselves aprons.
verse 13 "the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew" Eating of the fruit had obviously led to further knowledge, and the immediate result was they both discovered their nakedness, and their natural reaction was to cover themselves.
"they sewed fig-leaves together" The presence of fig trees indicates that the temperatures in the Garden of Eden were moderately warm, with little chance of frost. Fig leaves are broad, making them suitable for making aprons.
14 And they heard the voice of the Lord God, as they were walking in the garden, in the cool of the day; and Adam and his wife went to hide themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
verse 14 Adam and Eve were now obviously uncomfortable with their nakedness in the Lord's presence.
"as they were walking in the garden" This detail clarifies that Adam and Eve were walking in the garden when they heard the Lord's voice. The Genesis account leads the reader to think that God was walking in the Garden when overheard (see Genesis 3:8). Both meanings are possible.
"from the presence of the Lord" This expression, in the third person, seems to break the first-person narrative style of the surrounding verses. Actually, in the first handwritten language of Moses 3:14, that first-person style is preserved in a somewhat awkward wording: "from the presence of I the Lord God."
15 And I, the Lord God, called unto Adam, and said unto him: Where goest thou?
verse 15 "Where goest thou?" Although the question addresses Adam alone, it seems plain that God was also addressing Eve. Further, the Genesis report repeats the question as "Where art thou?" (Genesis 3:9). From the Moses account, evidently God saw them moving "amongst the trees of the garden" (verse 14). We know from other hints that there were pathways in the Garden (see the commentary on verse 31).
16 And he said: I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I beheld that I was naked, and I hid myself.
verse 16 "because I beheld that I was naked" This realization on the part of Adam and Eve was apparently a trigger mechanism that, when confessed, would make it plain to all parties, including the Lord and the couple, that something was seriously amiss. The Genesis text records words of Adam that exhibit less self-consciousness on his part: "because I was naked" (Genesis 3:10).
17 And I, the Lord God, said unto Adam: Who told thee thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat, if so thou shouldst surely die?
verse 17 "Who told thee thou wast naked?" The question intimates that the Lord was letting Adam know that he knew of Satan's activities in the garden.
"if so thou shouldst surely die?" This expression does not appear in the Genesis account. Here it serves as a link backward to Moses 3:16-17 which contains the original commandment.
18 And the man said: The woman thou gavest me, and commandest that she should remain with me, she gave me of the fruit of the tree and I did eat.
verse 18 "The woman . . . gave me of the fruit" Adam evidences his truly human nature by initially deflecting blame from himself.
"I did eat" To his credit, Adam finally accepted responsibility for his act. So did Eve (see verse 19). These acts stand in contrast to Cain's deceitful effort to appear blameless before God. Moses 5:34 reads: "And the Lord said unto Cain: Where is Abel, thy brother? And he said: I know not. Am I my brother's keeper?"
19 And I, the Lord God, said unto the woman: What is this thing which thou hast done? And the woman said: The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
verse 19 "The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat" Like Adam, Eve exhibits the fully human inclination to shift the blame for her action to another. Also like Adam, she finally took responsibility for her decision and subsequent action by saying, "I did eat."
verses 20-25 In these verses the Lord pronounces the "curses" of mortality. The first curse is pronounced upon the head of the serpent.
20 And I, the Lord God, said unto the serpent: Because thou hast done this thou shalt be cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life;
verse 20 "I, the Lord God, said unto the serpent" Again we meet the problem of whether the serpent is a figurative representation of Satan, or whether there was a literal cursing of the serpent. In other words, who is it that is being cursed here? Is it Satan or is it the snake? From the context, it seems there is both a literal and a figurative interpretation. The serpent is being cursed, and the serpent is a type of what will happen to Satan and his followers. Evidence for the literal interpretation in this verse is seen in the comparison to all other beasts is made ("thou shalt be curses above all cattle"). The literal cursing of the serpent then is, "upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life." The following verse will extend the curse to Satan and his followers.
21 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed; and he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
verse 21 This verse extends the Lord's curse to Satan and his followers. We may regard this verse as one of the few recorded verbal exchanges between the Lord and Satan following the expulsion of the latter from heaven.
"I will put enmity between thee and the woman" The Lord places enmity between Satan's minions and the offspring of the woman Eve. There is a natural division between those who exemplify the darkness of the world and those who maintain their inherent light of Christ (John 1:9).
"thy seed" This is a reference to Satan and all of his minions. The offspring ("thy seed") of Satan, those who choose to follow Satan as did the serpent, will become his sons and daughters.
"her seed" The offspring of Eve.
"he shall bruise thy head" The "he" in this phrase seems to refer to Jesus Christ, one of the "offspring" of Eve. He will bruise or crush the head of Satan through the atonement (see Romans 16:20).
"thou shalt bruise his heel" The followers of Satan will have power to bruise the heel of Eve's other seed by leading them to sin. This lesser injury may not cause a permanent disability.
22 Unto the woman, I, the Lord God, 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.
verse 22 "thy sorrow and thy conception" "In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children" The meaning of the Hebrew term sorrow in Genesis 3:16 has to do with pain, suffering, misery, including mental pain. In Genesis 3:16, the meaning seems to point to the stress of family. While the privilege of bringing forth children is a great blessing, this blessing will be earned through significant hardship.
"thy desire shall be to thy husband" The woman is to abide by the righteous counsel of her husband.
"he shall rule over thee" The husband will preside over the wife. Her role is not to be inferior to that her husband but of a different nature. She is to receive joy through her children and is also to comfort her husband in his role. She is to "lay aside the things of this world" and delight in "the glory which [will] come upon him" (D&C 25:5; D&C 25:10; D&C 25:14). He in turn will rule over her-not in unrighteousness, but by revelation entitled to him as a priesthood holder and in conformity with the principles of righteousness outlined in the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 121:36-46).
23 And unto Adam, I, the Lord God, said: Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the fruit of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying-Thou shalt not eat of it, cursed shall be the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.
verse 23 "cursed shall be the ground for thy sake" Cursing the ground for disobedience, and blessing it in other circumstances, occurs frequently in scripture because it directly affects a society that depends on agriculture for its basic needs (see Genesis 5:29; Deuteronomy 28:16-17; Isaiah 5:10; Moses 7:7-8; Mosiah 12:4; Mosiah 12:6; Alma 9:13; Helaman 11:4-5; Helaman 11:17). To Adam and his male offspring, the Lord cursed the ground, but he did it "for [their] sake." This suggests that his cursing would make it more difficult to raise crops, but that will work for the ultimate good of man. Because of the thorns and thistles which would grow upon the cursed ground, Adam and his posterity would have to labor "by the sweat of [their] face" to eat of their bread (Moses 4:23-25). Since the idle mind is the devil's workshop, this commandment to work becomes a blessing in disguise.
"in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life" In misery and hardship will you eke out your sustenance from the cursed ground for the rest of your life.
24 Thorns also, and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.
25 By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou shalt return unto the ground-for thou shalt surely die-for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou wast, and unto dust shalt thou return.
verse 25 You will surely die and your body will return to the dust of the earth from whence it came.
26 And Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living; for thus have I, the Lord God, called the first of all women, which are many.
verse 26 "Eve" In the Genesis account, Eve's name derives from the Hebrew verb "to live" (hayah) thus giving meaning to the expression "she was the mother of all living."
"for thus have I, the Lord God, called the first of all women, which are many" This expression bears a major doctrinal message about the prior creative acts of God-they are many, and there have been many first women named Eve (compare Moses 1:33; Abraham 3:12).
27 Unto Adam, and also unto his wife, did I, the Lord God, make coats of skins, and clothed them.
verse 27 This verse is missing from the first handwritten manuscript but was included in the second. Its language resembles that of Genesis 3:21.
"I, the Lord God . . . clothed them" The clothing is sacred, because God made it. Thus we learn that the "coats of skins" represents the sacred garment.
"coats of skins" Obviously death is also in force in the animal kingdom, for the skins most likely came from animals.
28 And I, the Lord God, said unto mine Only Begotten: Behold, the man is become as one of us to know good and evil; and now lest he put forth his hand and partake also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever,
verse 28 "I, the Lord God, said unto mine Only Begotten" A reminder that both the Father and the Son collaborated to create the earth and all things on the earth. One of the ancient biblical questions has been, Who assisted God in his unfolding work? Genesis 1:26-"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness"-does not identify God's helper. Additional revelation has provided us the answer.
"the man is become as one of us" There is an implication in these words that the divine world was made up of many more personalities than the Father and the Son (see "Divine Assembly" and "Sons of God" in The Anchor Bible, 2:214-17).
By acquiring a knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve now possessed a celestial characteristic (compare Alma 12:31-"becoming as Gods, knowing good from evil, placing themselves in a state to act . . . according to their wills and pleasures").
"lest he . . . partake also of the tree of life, and . . . live forever" In an inspired reflection on this scene, Alma placed God's concerns in a larger perspective, declaring, "If Adam had put forth his hand immediately, and partaken of the tree of life, he would have lived forever . . . having no space for repentance . . . and the great plan of salvation would have been frustrated" (Alma 42:5; also 12:23, 26). This phrase proposes a hypothetical situation that could never have come to pass because the word of God has stated otherwise. If Adam and Eve had partaken of the fruit of the tree of life, they would have lived forever in sort of suspended state of eternal agony where they were guilty of sin but unable to repent. They would have a type of immortal body. Though they had transgressed in the garden and knew right from wrong, there would be no mortal period of probation available to them. There would be no opportunity to be tried and to repent. They would be unable to earn their exaltation. The rest of us would also suffer. We would be stuck in our pre-existent, unembodied state. Thus, "the great plan of salvation would have been frustrated."
29 Therefore I, the Lord God, will send him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken;
verse 29 "I, the Lord God, will send him forth from the Garden" The banishment represented more than just a physical move for Adam and Eve. It meant that they were prevented from partaking of the tree of life. They were cut off both temporally and spiritually from the presence of the Lord, and their state became a state of probation.
"to till the ground from whence he was taken" This phrase references the ground, or materials of the earth, from which Adam and Eve's bodies were constructed or "taken."
30 For as I, the Lord God, liveth, even so my words cannot return void, for as they go forth out of my mouth they must be fulfilled.
verse 30 "my words cannot return void" This verse finds no counterpart in the Genesis account. It states an important doctrinal principle-that God's "words cannot return void" to him after he has spoken them. This means "they must be fulfilled."
31 So I drove out the man, and I placed at the east of the Garden of Eden, cherubim and a flaming sword, which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life.
verse 31 "at the east of the Garden of Eden" The east side of the garden is the place of sacred entry, as it was with most ancient holy sanctuaries, whose main gates faced the rising sun. In fact, Cain and his family settled "east of Eden" in an apparent attempt to remain close both to the original place of his parents' residence and to the gate leading into the garden (Moses 5:41).
"cherubim" This plural term refers to creatures of the heavenly world who are not a part of the earthly realm. Their holiness, evidenced by their close association with God, appears in representations of them on various sacred objects as described in the scriptures (Exodus 25:18-22; Exodus 26:1; Exodus 26:31; Exodus 36:8; Exodus 36:35; Exodus 37:7-9; Numbers 7:89; 1 Kings 6:23-35; 1 Kings 8:6-7). In this scene, the cherubim are associated with the gate leading into the Garden, which is made holy by the presence of God. That God continued to come to this place is shown both by the prayers of Adam and Eve near the garden and by "the voice of the Lord," which came to them from there (Moses 5:4).
"a flaming sword" The flame and the sword are, respectively, symbols for God's justice and his power to inflict punishment. For fire as a symbol of divine justice or punishment, see Genesis 19:24-25; Amos 1:4; Amos 1:7; Amos 1:10; Amos 1:12; Amos 1:14; Amos 2:2; Amos 2:5; Matthew 3:10; Matthew 18:8; Matthew 25:41; Jude 1:7. For the sword, see Deuteronomy 32:41-42; Deuteronomy 33:29; Romans 13:4; Ephesians 6:17; Revelation 1:16; Revelation 6:4.
"to keep the way of the tree of life" The term "the way" points plainly to a pathway or road that led to the tree of life, apparently running to the tree from the east entry into the garden (compare Alma 12:21-"lest our first parents should enter"-and the note on Moses 5:4). In Genesis 3:24, the Hebrew term for "way" is derek, which means "a path."
The Lord's action here is best explained in the Book of Mormon. In answer to one Antionah, a chief ruler in the land of Ammonihah, Alma explained:
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 12:23-26; see also Alma 42:3-6).
In summary, the protection of the tree was for a two fold purpose: to bring about a guarantee of death as God had proclaimed, and to allow a probationary time for mankind to repent and serve God.
32 (And these are the words which I spake unto my servant Moses, and they are true even as I will; and I have spoken them unto you. See thou show them unto no man, until I command you, except to them that believe. Amen.)
verse 32 "these are the words which I spake unto my servant Moses" Although God does not mention here the accompanying vision, we know that Moses saw one in preparation for receiving the revelation about the Creation and events that followed (see Moses 1:27-29). Evidently, the bulk of what Moses wrote came to him by dictation-"write the words which I [God] speak" (Moses 2:1).
"the words . . . are true" Although God does not swear an oath to affirm the truth of what he has said, as he does in other contexts (see Genesis 22:16; Hebrews 6:13), his words alone carry the assurance of divine verity.
"show them unto no man . . . except to them that believe" This instruction repeats what God had said earlier to Joseph Smith, who was the recipient of the record of Moses (see Moses 1:42). It is thus plain that these materials bear a quality of holiness and will be appreciated by believers, but perhaps scorned by unbelievers.