Switch Adam and Eve

Don - March 8, 2005

Last night while teaching the P of GP to the single adult group one of the sisters asked a question I have pondered before. She asked what would have happened if Adam had partaken of the fruit first?

First, would Eve have been “smart” enough to realize the situation and partaken also?

Second, would Adam and Eve’s consequences for partaking been different? Would Adam have been put in subjection to Eve, and Eve ruled over him? (Actually as all us men know they do now anyway!) (I’ve learned that I always get the last word in our house…it’s “yes dear”)

This sister was actually quite upset that the consequence Eve got was being subject to her husband. She wanted to know why Adam didn’t partake first, if he was so “smart” that he knew the consequences / benefits then why didn’t he?

Interesting questions.

1 Comment »

  1. This line of questioning presuposes that God wanted them to eat of the fruit when they did. I don’t think that this is valid. The whole Eve was so “smart” that she ate the fruit is just bunk. She was *beguiled* and broke a comandment of God. I don’t think it had to be that way.
    J. Stapley | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 2:40 pm | #

    I like and admire Eve for the decision she made. She strikes me as a real human being … and I mean that in the best possible way.
    danithew | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 2:59 pm | #

    This line of questioning presuposes that God wanted them to eat of the fruit when they did. I don’t think that this is valid.

    J., I am curious about your reasoning for this. Could you elaborate?
    John C. | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 3:05 pm | #

    I go into this in some depth over two posts:

    http://www.splendidsun.com/wp/in…p/2005/01/27/ 31

    http://www.splendidsun.com/wp/in…p/2005/01/24/ 27

    The jist is that 1) the twin paradoxical commandments are not paradoxical if we look at them temporally. i.e., we give our children similar commandment: Be fruitful and multiply & don’t have sex.

    We know that Adam & Eve were waiting for more instruction when they fell. Moreover, Satan’s self defense asserts that there is a non-transgressive manner to administer the fruit.

    That and the idea that we have to break the commandments of God to follow them is ludicrous.
    J. Stapley | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 3:39 pm | #

    It’s not bunk.

    “The Lord knew they would do this, and he had designed that they should.” –President Brigham Young (speaking on the foreordination of the Fall)

    “Adam and Eve did the very thing the Lord intended them to do. If we had the original record we would see the purpose of the Fall clearly and its necessity explained.” –President Joseph Fielding Smith

    “Adam, our father, and Eve, our mother, must obey. They must fall. They must become mortal. Death must enter the world. There is no other way. They must fall that man may be.” –Elder Bruce R. McConkie

    “Adam did not commit sin in eating the fruits, for God had decreed that he should eat and fall.” –The Prophet Joseph Smith

    “The eternal power of choice was respected by the Lord himself…. It really converts the command into a warning, as much as to say, if you do this thing, you will bring upon yourself a certain punishment, but do it if you choose…. The Lord had warned Adam and Eve of the hard battle with earth conditions if they chose to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He would not subject his son and daughter to hardship and the death of their bodies unless it be of their own choice. They must choose for themselves. They chose wisely, in accord with the heavenly law of love for others.” –Elder John A. Widtsoe

    “Such was the problem before our first parents: to remain forever at selfish ease in the Garden of Eden, or to face unselfishly tribulation and death, in bringing to pass the purposes of the Lord for a host of waiting spirit children. They chose the latter. This they did with open eyes and minds as to consequences. The memory of their former estates may have been dimmed, but the gospel had been taught them during their sojourn in the Garden of Eden. They could not have been left in complete ignorance of the purpose of their creation.” –Elder John A. Widtsoe

    If you don’t read Beverly Campbell’s Eve and the Choice Made in Eden, at least read the quotes from the Prophets and General Authorities from it that I posted at my blog Oct 26, 2004.
    Peggy Cahill | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 3:53 pm | #

    We need to keep in mind what it means when Eve became “subject” to her husband. Latter-Day Saints know this means they must hearken to the counsel of their husband as he hearkens to the counsel of God. If they don’t then they don’t have to.
    Second, I think Eve was supposed to do what she did or else Satan would have made more of an effort with Adam. He did not explain all the consequences (as far as we know from what has been revealed) as he did to Eve.
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 4:12 pm | #

    Peggy, I would refer you as well to the first of the links that I cited above.

    I agree that Adam and Eve had to fall. The question remains how and when the should have fallen. I realize that you have strong feelings on the subject and that my perspective is somewhat iconoclastic, but I think that you would agree that many of the assertions on this matter are incoherent.

    I agree that Eve was Nobel and Great and everything that goes with it. I’ll be the first to point to Joseph Smith and his ideas of and administration ideas of the fullness of the priesthood. But let us not twist the narrative(s) to be something that it is not.

    Moreover, I’m not bringing this up as a slam to Eve or Adam. I think that we can laud them both as truly great people. Period. Why does admitting that Eve was not was not “wise” pre-fall hurt anything.

    There was no sin with the fall, because there was no accountability. They still broke the commandment of God and regardless of whether or not it is a sin (because of our accountability) it is incoherent for God to require it.
    J. Stapley | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 4:38 pm | #

    Adam and Eve partaking of the fruit was not breaking a commandment. The second article of faith makes that clear. There is a difference in a commandment and a transgression.

    Brother Maxwell likens the transgression to a law like speeding. It’s illegal to speed, it’s breaking the law, but it’s not breaking a commandment.

    This thread is taking a bit of a different twist than I expected, but very interesting…thanks for the comments / discussion.
    Don | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 4:49 pm | #

    Adam and Eve partaking of the fruit was not breaking a commandment.

    It was to. It was not a sin because they were not accountable. Same reasons little children do not sin – but they still transgress the commandments of God.

    The thing is that God explicitly told them not to do it. Thus a commandant.
    J. Stapley | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 5:00 pm | #

    Regarding the Eve question,I would refer you to “The Redemption of Eve” in the book Sisters in Spirit, published by University of Illinois Press. When I first read it it blew my mind. Good reading.
    Dallas Robbins | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 5:35 pm | #

    We know that Adam & Eve were waiting for more instruction when they fell.

    J, are you suggesting that God just has bad timing? He turns around for a second…

    Satan’s self defense asserts that there is a non-transgressive manner to administer the fruit.

    Why do you believe Lucifer?

    Okay, Dallas, you can’t say that and not summarize any points made. Good reading because…
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 6:12 pm | #

    Adam and Eve partaking of the fruit was not breaking a commandment.

    I’m not sure to which of Elder Maxwell’s talks (or books) you’re referring to, but perhaps you’re misapplying (or misremembering) what he wrote.

    Elder Russel M. Nelson taught about the same topic:

    This suggested contrast between a sin and a transgression reminds us of the careful wording in the second article of faith: “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression” (emphasis added). It also echoes a familiar distinction in the law. Some acts, like murder, are crimes because they are inherently wrong. Other acts, like operating without a license, are crimes only because they are legally prohibited. Under these distinctions, the act that produced the Fall was not a sin—inherently wrong—but a transgression—wrong because it was formally prohibited. The Great Plan of Happines

    Father explicitly prohibited the partaking of the fruit and gave his reasoning. Eating might not have been Sin, but it was transgression.

    (It’s very possible that I’m wrong about your reading of Elder Maxwell, if this is the case, I apologize. I’d like to read his comments, do you have a link to them?)
    Anonymous | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 7:02 pm | #

    oops, I got so tied up in writing that last comment I forgot to ‘sign’ it.
    pate | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 7:03 pm | #

    Rusty, Peggy, Don etc,

    I agree with J. Stapley. In my opinion, the Lord wanted Adam and Eve to fall, which is to say, He wanted them to become mortal, but for the time being he had forbidden them to partake of the fruit as a test of their obedience. It is possible that, had they both obeyed, God would have then lifted his prohibition so that they could become mortal and instigate the plan.

    While I am only speculating, I think that the the fall and the transgression do not have a causative relationship. I suspect that the fall was the result of partaking of the fruit, not the result of transgressing the command.

    The bright and inquisitive Eve was quick to recognize the necessity of falling, but she was deceived by Lucifer into doing it contrary to the Lord’s command. After she had eaten the fruit, Adam was forced into a situation where he could not keep both the commandment to multiply with Eve AND refrain from eating the fruit. He had to obey one and break the other. He was not deceived. He chose to go against the prohibition so that man could be, knowing that as a result he would die. Eve made her choice under the false notion that she would not die as a result.

    As J. Stapley suggests, not everything Lucifer said was false. The most effective lies are mixed with truth and so Lucifer told Eve mostly truth but including the falsehood that partaking the fruit would not lead to death. As usual, Lucifer was trying to usurp God’s role and authority. He knew that Adam and Eve would have to fall, but he sought to frustrate the plan by taking God’s role as the one who authorized that fall even though he had not authority to do so.

    Adam and Eve sinned. But because of their childlike ignorance they were not accountable. But just like children, the sins still must be accounted for and the Savior takes the punishment for their sins upon himself.
    Jonathan Max Wilson | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 7:06 pm | #

    J, are you suggesting that God just has bad timing?

    No, but like JMW explained, these were agents that were tested by God.

    Why do you believe Lucifer?

    Why would he lie in defending himself to God. His reaction to God seems to be sincere.
    J. Stapley | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 7:40 pm | #

    “Redemption of Eve” is available on http://home.uchicago.edu/ ~spackm…emple.htm#women

    J Stapley: “the twin paradoxical commandments are not paradoxical if we look at them temporally. i.e., we give our children similar commandment: Be fruitful and multiply & don’t have sex.”
    Are you asserting by this statement that Adam and Ever were not capable of procreation in the Garden? If so, I disagree with you.

    My own take on this is that God cannot justly cast someone out of his presence unless they merit it. Hence, some commandment of some kind had to be broken so he could lawfully create a fair testing ground that He wasn’t present in.

    Further, the distinction we make between sin and transgression is backwards. In Hebrew, a sin is something committed without knowledge, or by taking your best shot and failing, whereas a transgression implies wilfull and knowing disobediance to a commandment.
    Ben S. | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 7:48 pm | #

    Also, Hugh Nibley argues that Adam and Eve do have the same “punishment” in “Matriarchy and Patriarchy” -

    “Now a curse was placed on Eve, and it looked as if she would have to pay a high price for taking the initiative in the search for knowledge. To our surprise the identical curse was placed on Adam also. For Eve, God “will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children.” (Genesis 3:16.) The key is the word for sorrow, atsav, meaning to labor, to toil, to sweat, to do something very hard. To multiply does not mean to add or increase but to repeat over and over again; the word in the Septuagint is plethynomai, as in the multiplying of words in the repetitious prayers of the ancients. Both the conception and the labor of Eve will be multiple; she will have many children. Then the Lord says to Adam, “In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life” (that is, the bread that his labor must bring forth from the earth). The identical word is used in both cases; the root meaning is to work hard at cutting or digging; both the man and the woman must sorrow and both must labor. (The Septuagint word is lype, meaning bodily or mental strain, discomfort, or affliction.) It means not to be sorry, but to have a hard time. If Eve must labor to bring forth, so too must Adam labor (Genesis 3:17; Moses 4:23) to quicken the earth so it shall bring forth. Both of them bring forth life with sweat and tears, and Adam is not the favored party. If his labor is not as severe as hers, it is more protracted. For Eve’s life will be spared long after her childbearing—”nevertheless thy life shall be spared”—while Adam’s toil must go on to the end of his days: “In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life!” Even retirement is no escape from that sorrow. The thing to notice is that Adam is not let off lightly as a privileged character; he is as bound to Mother Eve as she is to the law of her husband. And why not? If he was willing to follow her, he was also willing to suffer with her, for this affliction was imposed on Adam expressly “because thou hast hearkened unto . . . thy wife and, hast eaten of the fruit.”

    Old Testament and Related Studies, 89-90.
    Ben S. | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 7:51 pm | #

    If you believe Satan’s defense of his actions in giving the fruit to Eve, then can we assume that the same situation has taken place in numerous other “gardens of eden”? If so then were the commandments the same? If the same did the other Eves partake first? And lastly why did God punish Satan so much for merely doing what’s been done before?

    Or was he lying to begin with?
    Don | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 9:09 pm | #

    The emphasis is on *what* has been done before, not how or by who. We know that there have been Adams many, and I think it is fair to say that each have recieved the fruit at some point. That is the “what”.
    J. Stapley | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 9:41 pm | #

    I don’t know if I was very clear there. Basically, if God gave the fruit in every precedent, the discourse still works.
    J. Stapley | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 9:42 pm | #

    This is very interesting. I’m learning. Thank you.
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 03.08.05 – 11:39 pm | #

    J. Stapley, you’ve made me think some more on this, thanks. Satan’s reaction to God’s punishment for giving Eve the fruit, since it had been done on other worlds before, seems to be surprise/then anger. Why would he have been surprised? Maybe the fruit was given in a different way, or by a different “person”, or under a different circumstance.

    Satan “knew” it had been done on other worlds, maybe from personal experience, maybe from historical record. He makes it sound as though this time the punishment is disproportionate compared to the act. Why?

    Could this be an inkling into the possibility that other Adams and Eves were presented the fruit / mortality different than this on earth? If so does that mean Adam and Eve may have had the possibility of partaking of the fruit under different circumstances, if they would have not partaken as they did?

    I’m out of questions for now, how about some answers?
    don | Email | Homepage | 03.09.05 – 2:26 am | #

    Can a sin be committed before we do the same thing, yet think in our minds that, for one reason or another, our situation is different? I’m sure Satan is especially good at this. Just like when he thought he had a better salvation plan then God.
    As for “sin” and “transgrssion,” I’ve recently come to the think that God basically was saying “If you want to live like this, then do this. If you want to live instead like this, then do this other thing.”
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 03.09.05 – 3:06 am | #

    Don, those are the exact same questions that I have floating in my head. They are further bolstered by Adam’s waiting for more information from God. It seems that if God (or other sanctioned indavidual) gave the fruit (at the appropriate time) in previous examples, then Satan’s outrage is for being cursed for something that historically has been a “good” thing.

    And as a side note: Ben S. should get a bonus point for having the best and most cogent comment.
    J. Stapley | Email | Homepage | 03.09.05 – 12:58 pm | #

    J. I have a problem – If Satan was outraged for being cursed for something that historically had been a “good” thing as you mentioned – my question is what was Satan doing, doing a “good” thing? He doesn’t do good things!

    His goal is to thwart God’s plan, not help it along. If he knew, either by doing or by historical record that the fruit had been given to Adam and Eve, wouldn’t he also have realized it turned out to be a good thing, so why did he do it again? Is he stupid or something – I know he’s not, but why would he do this…he just can’t help being bad and wants to see Adam and Eve suffer. Or does he know, from past experience or history, that the only way to get more spirits to follow him, to make more people suffer he has to do this?

    Fun questions, where’s all the answers?
    Don | Email | Homepage | 03.09.05 – 1:38 pm | #

    Maybe he did it because he thought if they did it at the wrong time, it would screw things up. Same way he thinks about getting us to do good stuff at the wrong time (e.g., pre-marraige).
    J. Stapley | Email | Homepage | 03.09.05 – 2:05 pm | #

    “If Satan was outraged for being cursed for something that historically had been a “good” thing as you mentioned – my question is what was Satan doing, doing a “good” thing? He doesn’t do good things!”

    If the assumption that on other worlds God was the one who gave people the fruit to partake of is correct (and I have doubts), then Lucifer isn’t “doing good.” Rather, he’s putting himself in God’s place and usurping God’s authority, which is consistant with what we know of Lucifer’s desires and actions.
    Ben S. | Email | Homepage | 03.10.05 – 9:59 am | #

    Interesting thought, Ben, Thanks for that perspective.
    Don | Email | Homepage | 03.10.05 – 2:17 pm | #

    Perhaps I am uneducated in the ways of church doctrine, but is it stated somewhere very clearly by a prophetic source that Adam and Eve either could not, or did not know how to “multiply”?

    However, it is me belief that the creation account is all symbolic of a much greater creation (i.e. the counsel in Heaven), and not simply an account of what happened to our first parents.
    Joe | Email | Homepage | 06.06.05 – 2:09 pm | #

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