Old Testament Lesson #4
In studying the Fall, we come to recognize the need for a Savior and the Atonement to save us from spiritual and physical death. As children of Adam and Eve, we will all die, but because of Christ we will all be made alive.
The Fall was a necessary step in the eternal progress of mankind and introduced the conditions that made the mission of Jesus Christ absolutely necessary for salvation.
“The Fortunate Fall of Adam and Eve,” by Daniel K Judd, in No Weapon Shall Prosper: New Light on Sensitive Issues (BYU Religious Studies Center, 2011)
Mormon doctrine concerning the Fall of Adam and Eve is both distinct from other faiths and meaningful in that it provides an unparalleled context for understanding key theological constructs such as the nature of man, free will, the purposes of suffering and opposition, physical and spiritual death, and most importantly the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Understanding this fundamental doctrine also provides insight into what philosophers have termed “the problem of evil,” which addresses the question of why God allows evil and tragedy.
At the moment of temptation, Satan deliberately tries to confuse Eve. The devil knows that there are two trees in the midst of the garden, but only the tree of knowledge is visible to Eve (see Moses 4:9) since, according to Ephrem, the tree of life is hidden behind it.
“The Garden of Eden, the Ancient Temple, and Receiving a New Name,” by Alex Douglas, in Ascending the Mountain of the Lord: Temple, Praise, and Worship in the Old Testament (2013 Sperry Symposium).
The stories of the Creation and the Garden of Eden are some of the best sources we have for understanding the ancient temple. The temple was viewed as a model of the cosmos, and we can clearly see both Eden’s paradisiacal state and the creation of the world reflected in its construction.
"Mormonism's Satan and the Tree of Life," Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Ronan J. Head, Element: A Journal of Mormon Philosophy and Theology, Vol. 4, no. 2
God allows Satan to tempt us, but Elder Jedediah Grant said in 1854 that it is actually Satan’s mission to oppose the work of God. The test of life requires a fallen world, and the Devil still ensures temptation today.
“The Apocalypse of Adam,” by Stephen E. Robinson, BYU Studies Vol. 17, no. 2 (1977)
The Apocalypse of Adam, a text from the Nag Hammadi collection of early Christian documents, has parallels with the beliefs of the LDS Church, such as that before his death, Adam called his posterity together to receive his final blessing. This article presents the full text of this ancient book, which should be read not only for its common points with LDS doctrine, but for its value as ancient literature.
"Why Bad Things Happen at All: A Search for Clarity among the Problems of Evil," John S. Welch, BYU Studies Vol. 42, no. 2
The Book of Moses creation account begins with the earth being "without form and void" (Moses 2:2), going through the spiritual and then the physical creation. It is significant that the Book of Moses never describes or mentions "day seven" a second time. The book ends, not with the completion of humanity and God resting from his labors, but with the commandment to have faith, repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Ghost: an invitation to become perfected and completed in the future. This need for further completion characterizes the moment we find ourselves living in. Judgment has not yet come, evil and disorder still exist to some degree in this world, day six of the creation is ongoing, and there are still many wonderful possibilities of this creation left to be completed.
Old Testament Bibliography Resources:
This is a comprehensive bibliography of books and articles written from 1830 to 1997 by Latter-day Saints to Latter-day Saints about the Old Testament. The information is presented in three ways: by author’s last name, by canonical categories (Old Testament books), and by select subject categories (beginning with Aaron, Abraham and Sarah, Adam and Eve, Adversity, etc.)
The list draws from BYU Studies, Church Educational System symposia and manuals, LDS Church study manuals, Contributor, Dialogue, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Ensign, The Evening and the Morning Star, Improvement Era, Millennial Star, New Era, Sperry symposia, Sunstone, theses and dissertations at BYU, and Young Woman’s Journal.