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Garden of Eden – I Don’t Get It!?

Don - February 13, 2007

I feel that I pretty much understand our beliefs about the Garden of Eden. The temple helps clear up some areas that the scriptures tend to be a bit vague about.

What I don’t get it the rationale behind other church’s beleifs.

My understanding is that they believe that if Adam and Eve hadn’t eaten the fruit then we all would have been born and be living in this beautiful garden with no sin. Sounds great, lots of food and oh yeah, naked women running around all over. Opps strike that last part. A beautiful world and life to enjoy.

Anyway, to me they haven’t thought this thru at all. If Adam and Eve hadn’t eaten, then what about Cain, or Abel, or their wives, or someone else. What would have prevented one of them from partaking of the forbidden fruit? The more children the more people there would have been to have given into the temptation. Surely someone would have finally done it!

If someone besides Adam and Eve partook of the fruit, what would have happened? Bad things for them and their offspring? What bad things and how would that have affected everyone else? Seems to me it would have screwed things up pretty good.

Next time I have an opportunity to ask a non-member friend about this I’m going to…I wish I knew a “Born Again” minister I could ask.


  1. I dare anyone to tell me how the GOE makes sense in our theology or anyone elses. It fuels my long help assumption that much of Genesis is figurative.

    Comment by cj douglass — February 13, 2007 @ 12:33 pm

  2. Yeah, it’s a myth that conveys mankind came here by choice from an existence with G-d, that chaos is the rule here, etc. I think it’s first class myth btw, but myth with multiple and seemingly conflicting interpretations just the same. The interpretation that we’re not living G-d’s original intent but some kind of “plan B” is not popular with LDS, but just as valid as any other interpretation.

    Using Adam and Eve as an endorsement of the nuclear family alwys seemed like a crock of merde to me, given the first Adam capable of abstract thought and primative prayer, was likely the reproducing alpha male of a hunter gatherer group of his females and some gay assistants (natural eunuchs), hence why polygamy and some homosexuality are a natural part of the human condition. I’d put money on y-chromosome Adam being our religiuos Adam too.

    Comment by Steve EM — February 13, 2007 @ 1:35 pm

  3. Steve Evangelical Mormon,
    I’ll add your response to my long list of “cooked-up” expanations. Again, I dare anyone.

    Comment by cj douglass — February 13, 2007 @ 2:29 pm

  4. cj, I said it’s myth. It’s meant to be viewed differently by each reader. Don’t blame me if you don’t have your own interpretations of the myth while rejecting others as somehow invalid. If I had but one book of scripture while stranded on an island, it would be Genesis.

    Comment by Steve EM — February 13, 2007 @ 2:47 pm

  5. cj douglass,

    See my attempt at answering your question here, here, here, and here for the whole “before Abraham” category of posts.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 13, 2007 @ 3:30 pm

  6. “The temple helps clear up some areas that the scriptures tend to be a bit vague about.”

    I’m not sure the temple script was meant as scripture. Given the heavy use of symbolism in the endowment ceremony, I would be reluctant to use it as a text to clarify scripture. Especially given its parallels with Masonry.

    Comment by Kim Siever — February 13, 2007 @ 5:36 pm

  7. The part in the temple that clears up the Garden of Eden story for me is when it says that the story is simply figurative as far as [Adam and Eve] are concerned.

    Comment by Bored in Vernal — February 13, 2007 @ 9:38 pm

  8. The questions still remains, what do the Born Agains think, or how do they rationalize that someone in the garden would eventually partake of the forbidden fruit?

    Comment by Don — February 13, 2007 @ 11:43 pm

  9. Don,
    I think you mean Fundumentalist rather than Born Again. Born Again is just synomomous with Christian and when someone says “I’m a Born Again Christian”, they’re just saying they’re really Christian and are serious about it. Some Born Agains may be Fundumentalist too, but certainly don’t have to be. Any serious Christian is a Born Again, including Catholics and Mormons.

    Comment by Steve EM — February 14, 2007 @ 7:10 am

  10. Steve EM,

    I am one of those that believe one must be born from above to see the kingdom.

    And I am also a Christian fundamentalist.

    So does that make me a good candidate for Don’s post?

    But I need some more clarification.

    Don, do you think that a fundamentalist would have a hard time believing Adam and Eve’s children could sin even if the parents remained innocent?

    Comment by Todd Wood — February 14, 2007 @ 9:54 am

  11. Todd, thanks for responding. My understanding is if Adam and Eve hadn’t partaken then we all would have been born into and would continue to enjoy living in a Garden of Eden state. They condemn Adam and Eve for bringing about the present state of the earth.

    If that is correct, then what about Adam and Eve’s children? What would have happened if one of them would have partaken of the fruit? With Satan there and enough children, surely someone would partake. So if one of the children ate, what would have happened? Same thing that happened for Adam and Eve? Different outcome? What?

    Does that clarify my question?

    Comment by Don Clifton — February 14, 2007 @ 11:40 am

  12. Hmmm, I guess I didn’t understand some part of the scripture/story/myth. My understanding was that Adam and Eve did not have children until they left the garden. That’s why I thought those comments about blaming Adam and Eve for our current state rather silly. We wouldn’t be here otherwise.

    So, IMHO, there were no children to make the choice until after the Fall.

    Comment by Clueless in Seattle — February 14, 2007 @ 5:27 pm

  13. Clueless, that’s the very thing that sets us apart from the “Christian” world. Our understanding is no children until after the fall. Their understanding is children could and should have come, but Adam and Eve screwed up and by bringing the fall brought us all to this crappy earth instead of the beautiful garden they were in.

    Ours no fall no kids. Theirs kids anytime the fall made a mess of things.

    Comment by Don Clifton — February 14, 2007 @ 5:54 pm

  14. Don,
    Please don’t include me in “Ours”. I think the fall is a metaphor that each of us chose this mortal existence from a more innocent existence, that we’re here voluntarily, nothing more. Yes, I’m well versed in the missionary discussions, and I think they’re a crock of merde in that regard.

    I certainly look forward to Todd’s answer to your question.

    Comment by Steve EM — February 14, 2007 @ 7:51 pm

  15. No fall no kids . . . do the missionary discussions really teach this?

    According to Romans, the sin of Adam wreaked devastation upon the human race. Thank God for the second Adam. If the repercussions from the first Adam seem unfair, think of the extraordinary outcome from the work of the second Adam. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul is a master in working his way through this thread.

    Don, the account of the fall in Genesis offers no hope except through the protoevangelium.

    In regards to your questions, could you offer me any evangelical sources that say it is impossible for the children of innocent parents to sin? I am scratching my head over this. But Scripture does make clear where one sinned, all sinned. Sin is that devastatingly unfair.

    Comment by Todd Wood — February 14, 2007 @ 10:42 pm

  16. Am I the only one who was taught growing up that Adam & Eve were in a state somewhere between mortality and immortality (possibly not the right word) and that their innocence and lack of knowledge precluded them from having children while in the Garden? The fall presented, then, the opportunity to “multiply and replenish” the earth. I’ve always thought that the only two options were for A&E to live together forever in the Garden by themselves or to partake of the fruit and begin having children.

    Comment by larryco_ — February 15, 2007 @ 10:40 am

  17. Todd, I wasn’t saying it was impossible for the children of innocent parents A&E to sin. My question was to help me better understand your view on the garden situation and A&E.

    My assumption is that if A&E didn’t partake of the fruit they would have lived in the garden and had children. Is that correct?

    If that is correct, how long would they have lived in the garden?

    If one of their children, or several of them for that matter, partook of the fruit would they then be kicked out of the garden?

    If that is the case then some people would be living wonderful lives in the garden of eden and others would be living in the world as we see it now, outside the garden?

    Am I missing something here?

    Comment by Don Clifton — February 15, 2007 @ 2:46 pm

  18. Larryco, I think you have the “common” Mormon view. That isn’t however the view the Christian world has. And obviously it’s not the view of some of those who have posted here.

    Comment by Don Clifton — February 15, 2007 @ 2:49 pm

  19. I’m amazed how many people in this thread are getting hung up on semantics or completely missing the point of your question, Don. I wish I had an answer for you but are just as anxious to understand as you are.

    I might also ask where the Savior comes into play with all this. Would we not need Him if Adam didn’t fall or would Hius role change? I assume the former but I’d like to know.

    Comment by Bret — February 17, 2007 @ 11:14 pm

  20. Bret, to be fair, Don’s question is sort of one of those “what if” things that most poeple shy away from. The is myth is what it is and can be interpreted in a variety of ways. When someone throws in a “what if……..”, now we have a different myth and comparing interpretations between the orginal and the “what if” version often doesn’t help answer anything, sort of like trying to compare apples to oranges.

    But I sure hope Todd follows-up on Don’s clarification.

    Comment by Steve EM — February 19, 2007 @ 9:41 am

  21. Ok guys, I am just getting back today, looking over what you have mentioned.

    Regarding Don’s post #17 . . .

    1st question? I would assume so.

    2nd question? I would have desired to be there forever. Wherever I can walk in God’s presence that is where I would desire to be. God’s presence makes it paradise.

    3rd question? A&E were thrust out because of sin, so would anybody. Sin can’t exist with a holy God. No matter who it is, rebellion against God is not progress. It leads to separation from God.

    4th question? I would assume this would be possible. I do know this, Don. The person and work of Christ can separate family members. Those that believe on Christ will be with Him in Heaven. Those family members that look not to the redemption from their sins, offered in Christ, will be in Hell.

    Don, I will say this. Anything that I try to answer in regard to your questions not specifically mentioned in the biblical scriptures is purely Todd Wood speculation, nothing more. I carry no authority within myself, no matter how good-lookin’ I might be. :)

    (Well, only my wife thinks that I have any good looks).

    Comment by Todd Wood — February 19, 2007 @ 11:12 am

  22. Todd, I appreciate your answers. Could you briefly give me an idea of what your belief is about A&E and the garden. If A&E had not partaken of the fruit, what would have happened – long term?

    Comment by Don Clifton — February 19, 2007 @ 12:22 pm

  23. I really don’t know, friend.

    If we believe that God knows the future, that Adam and Eve would fall, that the atonement of Christ was planned before the foundation of the world . . . I just tend to be silent pretty much on the question.

    Comment by Todd Wood — February 20, 2007 @ 10:13 am

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