Moses 3: Identity, Commandments, and Purpose


Moses 2 ended with Adam and Eve being identified as the children of God created in his image and likeness. That familial relationship was defined in those terms and is further expanded upon in Moses 3. With the physical creation complete, Moses 3 introduces additional vital aspects of creation, all of which revolve around the crowning establishment of the seventh day as a means of growth and holiness for Adam and Eve. The institution of the Sabbath would become a major element in the law of Moses and would profoundly affect the prophet Moses and ancient Israel. Subsequent revelations and commandments would describe the sanctifying purpose of this holy day blessed by God.[1] Additionally, within the revelations, the Lord explained that his creations existed spiritually before they were created physically.[2] This transition from the spiritual to the physical takes on added significance when we encounter the language of God’s setting Adam and Eve within a sacred garden and breathing life into them. Tellingly, this language parallels other ancient Near Eastern texts describing the fashioning of gods and ritually breathing life into them, animating them to fulfill their purposes to take up their seats in holy spaces, rituals, and temples.[3] Within this sacred framework, Adam and Eve are given other commandments[4] and are married in the garden by God as beings not yet mortal and capable of experiencing death. The pattern for eternal marriage will thus be established. These elements help provide a theological background for sacred worship and practices that would develop within the restored Church and provide the backbone of the temple worship and ordinances that would be revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith and performed under the direction and power of the holy priesthood in Kirtland and Nauvoo. The contents of Moses 3 would thus have a profound effect on the covenants and ordinances revealed by God in the early years of the Church.

In this regard, Joseph Smith would receive authority to perform the priesthood sealing of eternal marriages, and by the mid-1830s he had begun teaching that marriage could endure into eternity through a couple’s faithfulness.[5] These sealed marriages were viewed in relation to the marriage of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The Prophet recorded in his journal:

24 November 1835 Tuesday

Tuesday 24th at home, spent the fore noon, instructing those that called to inquire concerning the things of God, in the last days: in the after-noon, we translated some of the Egyptian, records;[6] I had an invitation, to attend a wedding at Br. Hiram [Hyrum] Smith’s in the evening also to solemnize the matrimonial ceremony, <between Newell Knights [Newel Knight] & Lydia Goldthwaite [Bailey]> I and my wife, went, when we arrived a conciderable company, had collected, the bridegroom & bride came in, and took their seats, which gave me to understand that they were ready, I requesteded them to arise and join hands, I then remarked that marriage was an institution of h[e]aven institude [instituted] in the garden of Eden, that it was necessary that it should be Solemnized by the authority of the everlasting priesthood, before joining hands however, we attended prayers. I then made the remarks above stated; The ceremony was original <with me> it was in substance as follows, You covenant to be each others companions through life, and discharge the duties of husband & wife in every respect to which they assented, I then pronounced them husband & Wife in the name of God and also pronounced the blessings that the Lord confered upon adam & Eve in the garden of Eden; that is to multiply and replenish the earth, with the addition of long life and prosperity; dismissed them and returned home.—The weather is freezing cold, some snow on the ground.[7]

Newel Knight would later explain, “We received much Instruction from the Prophet concerning matrimony, & what the ancient order of God was, & what it must be again concerning marriage.”[8] The connection between the ancient order of God and the solemnity of Adam and Eve’s marriage is clear. The significance of Moses 3 for the early members of the Church is evidenced in part by how the topic of sacred marriage and its relation to the ancient past appeared in Church hymns of that period.[9]

About the same time the Lord was revealing to Joseph Smith the contents of Moses 3 (including references to the spiritual creation), additional revelations came that fleshed out the details of those important theological issues.[10] With reference to Moses 3:5 and its mention of the spiritual creation, “Joseph Smith must have had his own question about these verses—which we can infer from the fact that he received a revelation containing further explanation at about the same time the relevant portions of the book of Moses were given.”[11] The reception of Moses 3 thus influenced the theological development of identity within the Church and the development of sacred ordinances associated with the understanding of eternity, including marriage patterned after that of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

The Seventh Day[12]

1 Thus the heaven and the earth were finished,[13] and all the host of them.[14]

2 And on the seventh[15] day I, God, ended my work, and all things which I had made; and I rested[16] on the seventh day from all my work, and all things which I had made were finished, and I, God, saw that they were good;

3 And I, God, blessed[17] the seventh day, and sanctified it;[18] because that in it I had rested from all my work which I, God, had created and made. (Moses 3:1–3)

God’s institution of what will develop as the Sabbath under Moses comes at the completion of the earthly creation and introduces it as a theological principle that will become central to his purposes for the advancement of his children. John Walton writes:

This seventh day is not a theological appendix to the creation account, just to bring closure now that the main event of creating people has been reported. It intimates the purpose of creation and of the cosmos. God not only sets up the cosmos so that people will have a place; he also sets up the cosmos to serve as his temple. As Wenham observes, the creation of people may be the climax of the six days of work, but it is not the conclusion of the narrative. It is the seventh day that is blessed and sanctified, which suggests the significance of what happens there.[19]

Indeed, the open-endedness of the seventh day of creation—that is, the fact there is no “evening” and “morning” for this day as for the other “days” of creation—offers both an etiological basis for Sabbath worship on the seventh day as well as a doctrinal basis for efforts to sustain life on all days including the Sabbath. As Jesus explained to those who questioned his Sabbath activities, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17). This principle seems to stand behind Jesus’s questions “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?” (Mark 3:4). Jesus’s explanation of the Sabbath as a “day that man should glorify God”[20] is consistent with the purpose of creation as explained by the Lord to Moses: “this is my work to my glory, to the immortality & eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39, OT1).

The Lord’s etiological correlation of the seventh day of creation with the Sabbath had a significant impact on the system of worship that developed under Moses’s authority, one linking that worship with humanity’s raison d'être. The Sabbath reminded people of the divine purpose of their creation, a concept Moses learned as recorded in Moses 1. Of the Sabbath’s importance as a “religious distinctive” in ancient Israel and as a reliving of creation, Bill Arnold writes:

The significance of the Sabbath in ancient Israel can hardly be overstated. At the conclusion of the creation overture to the entire Bible, the six days of creation come to fruition in the institution of a day of rest. And it is not only an explanation of God’s resting place or a place for God’s repose. Rather it insinuates ‘blessing’ and ‘holiness’ for the created order. . . . Unlike the year, the month, or the day, all of which have basis in observable cosmic phenomena, the week is not based on recurring movement among the stars or planets. The seven-day week ending in a sanctified Sabbath is unique to Israel among ancient Near Eastern philosophies. By definition, this institution of the Sabbath presents an alternative view of reality. Faithful Israelites would find it difficult to pay homage to deities and religious festivals connected to the stars and planets while also honoring the Lord of the Sabbath. . . . [T]he seven-day pattern of Gen 1:1–2:3 transforms something as simple as the weekly calendar, with its regular twenty-four hour periods, into a constant reminder of God’s creative sovereignty. Every week of human history becomes a mnemonic stroll through creation itself.[21]

The language of the Sabbath intimated ceasing from physical work, but it also implied an increase of salvific work for God’s children, as indicated by the doubling of Sabbath sacrifices at the tabernacle.[22] Jesus appears to have been acting on this very principle when the religious elite of his time criticized him for his Sabbath activities. The setting apart of this day may also relate to the etymological root of the word seven (šebaʿ/šibʿat) as the completion of a cycle, which also has a connection with the swearing of oaths (šĕbûʿâ).[23] The Sabbath would thus see an increased focus on the work of salvation and would lead people to ponder the purpose of creation[24] and what they, in their solemn pledges to God, could do to create something good as he had done.

Spiritual Creation

Moses next gets a glimpse into the concept of a spiritual existence of people, plants, and animals before their physical creation. Few details are provided, but the Lord’s words must have filled in what Moses had learned in earlier revelations.[25] As Moses had seen in the events of Moses 1, this spiritual creation was prelude to the physical creation[26] and became the pattern for it. Additional details of this premortal spiritual existence would be revealed when Joseph Smith later translated the revelations found in the Book of Abraham, but the concept appears here in the revelations to Moses, as well as in other Restoration revelations given to Joseph Smith.[27] To Moses, the Lord made clear references to the premortal, spiritual creation in connection with details pertaining to the physical creation:

4 And now, behold, I say unto you, that these are the generations[28] of the heaven and of the earth, when they were created, in the day that I, the Lord God, made the heaven and the earth,[29]

5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air. . . .[30] (Moses 3:4–5)

To both Moses, and later to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the revelations revealed that a “pre-world description precedes report of creation.”[31] What follows is not a retelling of the Genesis 2 account of Adam and Eve’s creation per se, but a concentration and focus on the eternal nature of God’s children, along with details of the purpose of human existence.

Breath of Life

7 And I, the Lord God, formed[32] man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;[33] and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also; nevertheless, all things were before created; but spiritually were they created and made according to my word.

8 And I, the Lord God, planted a garden[34] eastward[35] in Eden,[36] and there I put[37] the man whom I had formed. (Moses 3:7–8)

Given Moses’s upbringing in Egypt, this creation language may have sounded very familiar to him. Throughout Mesopotamia and Egypt, ritual texts described the creation of idols and the liturgy of breathing life into them, dressing them, and situating them in sacred gardens, space, or temples with the intent of animating the gods to life so they could fulfill their function and take up their seat in their house.[38] Of course, the prohibition against idolatry would become prominent in biblical legislation under the authority of Moses (see Exodus 20:4; Leviticus 19:4; 26:1; Deuteronomy 4:16, 23; 5:8),[39] and part of the reason behind it may stem from what Moses was being taught by God here: God is the Creator and we are his creations, and imitations of that belittle God, ourselves, and the purpose of our creation. Michael Heiser observes, “Humanity’s creation in the image of God may be described in those terms as a basis for the Israelite rejection of making images of their God. Making a graven image is prohibited because humanity already is such an image.”[40] This would have been a poignant lesson for Moses, who had come to realize the nature of his relationship to God in terms of sonship and similitude (see Moses 1:4, 6–7, 13, 16, 40).[41] The Garden of Eden as a sanctuary where God created Adam and Eve in his image to be with him, to function for him, and to become like him plausibly resonated on a personal level with Moses. As a child of God “in the similitude of [God’s] Only Begotten” (Moses 1:6), Moses fit that same pattern. This pattern would eventually find further application for Moses in the anointing of priests in the tabernacle. Moreover, it would reemerge in the temple ritual that would develop in the Kirtland and Nauvoo periods.
Moses thus witnessed Adam and Eve’s placement in the Garden of Eden in an immortal state.[42] His revelations established humans’ filial relationship with God and taught that they had been created to rule and have stewardship over God’s creations (empowered by him) and also that they were created to dwell in the presence of God.[43]

Dress and Keep the Garden

Adam and Eve found themselves placed in the Garden of Eden in accordance with divine purpose. They encountered the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which were not hidden from view but situated openly. There in Eden they received instruction and a commandment to abstain from partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God also gave instructions for the care of this precious environment as well as direction about their duties and responsibilities in the garden. Now Adam and Eve are confronted with choice and agency.

9 And out of the ground made I, the Lord God, to grow every tree, naturally, that is pleasant to the sight of man; and man could behold it. And it became also a living soul. For it was spiritual in the day that I created it; for it remaineth in the sphere in which I, God, created it, yea, even all things which I prepared for the use of man; and man saw that it was good for food. And I, the Lord God, planted the tree of life[44] also in the midst of the garden, and also the tree of knowledge of good and evil.[45]

10 And I, the Lord God, caused a river to go out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.

11 And I, the Lord God, called the name of the first Pison, and it compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where I, the Lord God, created much gold;

12 And the gold of that land was good, and there was bdellium and the onyx stone.

13 And the name of the second river was called Gihon; the same that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.

14 And the name of the third river was Hiddekel; that which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river was the Euphrates.

15 And I, the Lord God, took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden, to dress it, and to keep it.[46] (Moses 3:9–15)

For Moses, this language of “dress and keep” will develop into what is reminiscent of priestly language and duties associated with the work of God in his temple (see Numbers 3:8; 8:16; 18:5–6).[47] God appointed to Adam and Eve stewardship over his sacred space and over his work, and the language and motifs of these passages conceivably helped Moses better comprehend his own later priestly duties.

Moses then witnessed God’s giving of commandments:

16 And I, the Lord God, commanded the man, saying: Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat,

17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,[48] thou shalt not eat of it,[49] 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.[50] (Moses 3:16–17)

Moses would have heard the apodictic prohibition in God’s speech and recognized it as such. Sometimes we might view the words “nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself” as a type of escape clause. Yet it seems clear that the plan was for them to learn obedience and how to choose with accountability and consequences, conditions they may not have fully understood at first (see 2 Nephi 2). So God gave them commandments to help them learn in the face of choice and adversity the crucial difference between what he had spoken and what the sly serpent would come along and speak. This initiated a process of growth and accountability that required making choices and learning the virtue of obedience through experience. The good news was that Moses would learn (as did Adam and Eve) that although we are sinners, God is not intent on punishing us—he is trying, at every step, to save us. The law of sacrifice to be set up through Moses to facilitate reconciliation with God was a law he would witness at the heart of the events unfolding in Moses 5. That law hearkened all the way back to Adam and Eve and would powerfully portray the concept of a substitute sacrifice and redemption.[51]

Marriage and Equality of Adam and Eve

Moses next learned of the sanctity of marital relationships, leading up to God’s description of the marriage of Adam and Eve in the garden:

18 And I, the Lord God, said unto mine Only Begotten, that it was not good[52] that the man should be alone; wherefore, I will make an help meet for him.[53] (Moses 3:18)

This statement prepared Moses to comprehend the functional nature of marriage and equality within it and expands the definition of what it means to be the family of God, bestowed with the powers of procreation and with sacred family relationships. Moses then learns of some of the priestly responsibilities of Adam leading up to his preparations for marriage.

19 And out of the ground I, the Lord God, formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and commanded that they should come unto Adam, to see what he would call them; and they were also living souls; for I, God, breathed into them the breath of life, and commanded that whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that should be the name thereof.[54]

20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but as for Adam, there was not found an help meet for him. (Moses 3:19–20)

Joseph Smith explained the knowledge, intelligence, and stewardship given to Adam, as well as the personal nature of these God-given instructions: “From the foregoing we learn man’s situation at his first creation; the knowledge with which he was endowed, and the high and exalted station in which he was placed—lord, or governor of all things on earth, and at the same time enjoying communion and intercourse with his Maker, without a vail to separate between.”[55] Joseph went on to explain further:

After man was created, he was not left without intelligence, or understanding, to wander in darkness, and spend an existence in ignorance and doubt—on the great and important point which effected his happiness,—as to the real fact by whom he was created, or unto whom he was amenable for his conduct. God conversed with him face to face: in his presence he was permitted to stand, and from his own mouth he was permitted to receive instruction—he heard his voice, walked before him, and gazed upon his glory—while intelligence burst upon his understanding, and enabled him to give names to the vast assemblage of his Maker’s works.[56]

At this point there is an important turn of events. Moses learns of the creation of Eve, the high point in the story and the culmination of everything God hopes to achieve in the earth’s creation: the establishment of his family.

21 And I, the Lord God, caused a deep sleep[57] to fall upon Adam; and he slept, and I took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in the stead thereof;

22 And the rib[58] which I, the Lord God, had taken from man, made I a woman, and brought her unto the man.

23 And Adam said: This I know now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. (Moses 3:21–23)

Moses beholds the intended equal relationship between man and woman and learns of their marital unification at the hands of God:

24 Therefore[59] shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave[60] unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.[61]

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Moses 3:24–25)

Elder Marion D. Hanks described the significance of this marriage: “In the beginning, after the earth was prepared, God brought man and woman together in the Garden, and the first wedding occurred. They were not yet subject to mortal death, and no time limitations were placed upon their marriage.”[62] This concept seems so much at odds with marriage customs that would develop in the world of the Bible and Moses:

One puzzling aspect of this definition of marriage is that it does not reflect the reality of marriage customs in the patriarchal society of the ancient Near East. Mathews states that “it was customary in Israel for a man to remain in, not leave, his father’s household.” As an example, he points to the patriarchal narratives, where Isaac remained part of Abraham’s household even after his marriage (Gen 24), and Jacob’s 12 sons were still under his authority even after they had sons and families of their own (Gen 42:37). Further, the biblical laws for levirate marriage also assumed a woman remained part of her husband’s household even after his death (Deut 25:5–10). Since the man did not leave his family to start a new one with his wife, Mathews understands “leave” (azav) in Gen 2:24 as “metaphorical rather than literal.” Hamilton addresses the difficulty with the explanation that it may reflect an erēbu marriage where “the husband leaves his family and lives with his wife’s family.” Dwelling on the particulars of how Gen 2:24 reflects marriage in the biblical world may be beside the point that the narrative is trying to make.[63]

Viewing Adam and Eve’s marriage in the context of pre-Israelite antiquity removes the enigmatic tension with later biblical law and prescriptions that develop in these later patriarchal narratives. At this stage, Adam and Eve “leave” their “father and . . . mother” (Genesis 2:24; Moses 3:24, perhaps a reference to the heavenly parents of Adam and Eve, as seems implicit in the etiology) to begin life together as a couple. In any case, we thus witness the eternal nature of their marriage in the Garden of Eden and the ideal that God had so set in place for matrimony. Interestingly, Doctrine and Covenants 84 and JST Exodus 34 describe the Lord’s intention to give ancient Israel the laws and ordinances associated with the Melchizedek Priesthood, although the events surrounding the Mt. Sinai and golden calf episodes put that on hold. This look back to the Garden of Eden seems to give us the picture of the ideal before the institution of the law of Moses, an ideal to which Jesus appeals in his discourses on marriage and divorce in the New Testament. The early Saints of the Church in this dispensation embraced this ideal in the form of eternal marriage and its covenantal promises that were linked to the marriage of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.[64]


[1] “The Sabbath is a sign between the Lord and humankind that God is the source of sanctification (Exod 31:13).” B. C. Babcock, “Sabbath ,” in Barry et al., Lexham Bible Dictionary. “It is clear that God intended the day to be a blessing to man, both physically and spiritually. The Sabbath is frequently mentioned in the Levitical legislation. It was to be kept holy for the worship of the Lord (Lev 23:3) and was to remind the Israelites that God had sanctified them (Exod 31:13).” Douglas and Tenney, New International Bible Dictionary , 876.

[2] This teaching became significant to the restored Church. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “God made a tabernacle and put a spirit into it, and it became a living Soul. (Refers to the old bible.) How does it read in the Hebrew. It does not say in the Hebrew that God created the spirit of man; it says ‘God made man out of the earth, and put into him Adam’s spirit, and so became a living body.’” History, 1838–1856, volume E–1 [1 July 1843–30 April 1844], p. 1973, The Joseph Smith Papers. Joseph Smith also taught: “The Spirit of man is not a created being, it existed from eternity and will exist to eternity. . . . The Father called all spirits before him at the creation of man and organized them.” Discourse, between circa 26 June and circa 4 August 1839–A, as Reported by William Clayton, pp. 13–14, The Joseph Smith Papers. And further: “[T]he son [of] man created a human-being—pure—matter & Sp[irit] & these two put togr. made a living soul.” Minutes and Discourses, 6–9 April 1844, as Reported by Thomas Bullock, p. 26, The Joseph Smith Papers. The development of the premortal soul features prominently in later Judaism; “the seventeenth-century Jewish scholar Menasseh ben Israel cites chapter 3 of the Bereshith Rabbah as teaching that human souls existed before embodiment, not just as ideas in the mind of God but as entities with whom he actually consulted before creation, in order to make sure he did not clothe them with matter against their will.” Cited in Givens and Hauglid, Pearl of Greatest Price, 39, from Van den Berg, “Pre-existence of the Soul,” 66.

[3] See, e.g., McDowell, Image of God in the Garden of Eden; Walton, Lost World of Adam and Eve, loc. 49ff.; and Walton, Genesis, NIV Application Commentary, 147ff.

[4] A letter to the Church published in the Evening and Morning Star in March 1834 explains these commandments: “It may be supposed, and we think with a degree of propriety, that man had given to him in the beginning, from the hand of his Maker, every necessary law and instruction, for his peace, happiness, and future comfort; and if not, living as he did in the immediate presence, and walking under the inspection of heaven, if he needed more, he could yet ask it, and that wise Hand which had formed him of the dust was sufficient; not only sufficient, but knowing all things, knew whether man needed more or not, and if he did, it would be bestowed. To suppose that the Maker of the universe never gave to man any law after he had formed him, would, in our opinion, be offering an insult to his glorious character, and be comparing him beneath, even an earthly parent! For where, we ask, is the kind humane father to be found, who would, for any consideration whatever, suffer his children to grow up to manhood without giving them instruction. . . . Should the great Author of our being, after he had made all things, and even man, and pronounced them all good, leave man without a law, we might well suppose that here was a contradiction in terms, indeed; for he had pronounced all things which he had made good, and yet there was no good in man, consequently he was not worthy to receive a law whereby his conduct might be governed; but must be left without any principles or directions from the hand of his Maker to guide him in the least particular.” Letter to the Church, circa March 1834, p. 143, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[5] See Letter from William W. Phelps in Kirtland, Ohio, to Sally Waterman Phelps in Liberty, Missouri, May 26, 1835. In Van Orden, “Writing to Zion,” 547. See Jackson, Joseph Smith’s Commentary on the Bible, 13.

[6] This is a reference to the Book of Abraham, which Joseph Smith had begun translating after having acquired it along with other papyri a few months earlier in July 1835. Importantly, Abraham’s account, which speaks of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, is an additional revelatory witness of the antiquity of the information in the creation narratives and the Adam and Eve story.

[7] Journal, 1835–1836, p. 49, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[8] Journal, 1835–1836, p. 49, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[9] One example: “The Lord took Eve to Adam, / And taught them how to love. / 2 On such a grand occasion, / As union had begun, / They held a sweet communion, / And join’d the twain as one. / 3 And bless’d them as an altar, / For chaste and pure desire, / That no unhallow’d being / Might offer there “strange fire.” / 4 Beware of all temptation; / Be good, be just, be wise, / Be even as the angels, / That dwell in Paradise. / 5 Go multiply,—replenish, / And fill the earth with men, / That all your vast creation, / May come to God again:— / 6 And dwell amid perfection, / In Zion’s wide domains, / Where union is eternal, / And Jesus ever reigns.” Collection of Sacred Hymns, 1835, p. 82, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[10] “An 1830 revelation (D&C 29) reconceives Genesis 1–3 in terms of parallel creations, temporal and spiritual. The divine voice explains that humans can’t understand divine atemporality—‘Speaking unto you that you may naturally understand; but unto myself my works have no end, neither beginning; but it is given unto you that ye may understand’ (29:33).” Brown, Joseph Smith’s Translation, 66. See Givens and Hauglid, Pearl of Greatest Price, 91.

[11] Bradshaw, In God’s Image, 134. See Muhlestein, “Revelations Surrounding the ‘New Translation,’” 49–52; and Doctrine and Covenants 29:30–35.

[12] Sometimes Genesis 2 is considered a separate, distinct account of creation. However, Genesis 1 and 2 flow together to create harmony and a “binocular or synoptic view of creation. Gen 2–3 now takes a ‘second look.’” Arnold, Genesis, 55. Some maintain that “Genesis 2–3 is not a creation story at all, but rather a narrative of what becomes of the ‘heavens and the earth’ later on (the ‘aftermath’ of creation)” (Postell, Adam as Israel, 78–79), and that “these first two chapters of Genesis are not parallel accounts of creation. Chapter 1 is a majestic overview, while [chapter] 2 selects certain aspects of creation and deals with them in more detail” (McKeown, Genesis, 30). The “location of Genesis 2–3 at the very outset of the Old Testament, with the first interactions between God and humanity, gives a contextual weight to the narrative that is as great as could be.” Moberly, Old Testament Theology, 71. “We could also make the distinction that Gen 1 focuses on God, while Gen 2 focuses on people. Brueggemann calls this second account ‘a more intense reflection upon the implications of creation for the destiny of humanity.’” Mangum, Custis, and Widder, Genesis 1–11, at Genesis 2:4–25. Genesis 2 and 3 appear to begin to tell the story of how God is going to accomplish immortality and eternal life for his children.

[13] The Hebrew verb to finish “is used not in the sense of doing final stages of something, but rather of putting an end to doing something.” Day, Studies in Genesis 1–11, 16. The activities that follow on the seventh day preserve a different component of God’s work that is only beginning as he turns his attention specifically toward his children, Adam and Eve. The Sabbath constitutes an additional work that ensues after the physical creation has been declared good, and it entails the spiritual development of God’s children, the reason for creation. “Unlike the other days of creation, the seventh day does not conclude with, ‘and there was evening, and there was morning—the seventh day.’ In this respect the seventh day stands apart from the other six days in not having an account of its conclusion. It is this feature of the narrative that suggests a picture of an eternal, divine ‘Sabbath.’” Sailhamer, Genesis, loc. 2924–26.

[14] This is the equivalent of Genesis 2:1 and employs language that parallels the creation of the cosmos with the creation of the tabernacle. “‘Thus the heavens and the earth were finished.’ This clause and other features of 2:1–3 contain undeniable similarities with the instructions for building the wilderness tabernacle found in Exod 25–31 and 34–40, and especially the linguistic ties in Exodus 39 and 40. Through architectural similarities, the Bible asserts that in both cases—the construction of the world and the tabernacle—a significant work has been completed. The comparison between this world-building project and the tabernacle-building project of Sinai becomes a metaphor used elsewhere in the Bible. The entire cosmos may be viewed as a temple for God’s sovereign rule. Conversely, Israel’s sanctuaries, both the wilderness tabernacle and Solomon’s temple, may be seen as microcosms of the universe, places of cosmic order in which God’s reign is unquestioned and unending.” Arnold, Genesis, 48. It is important to view the opening lines of this chapter through this lens since the subsequent material appears to continue this theme of sacred space and the purposes for which Adam and Eve had been created.

[15] “God blessed the seventh day, setting it apart from all other days by making it holy. From the premise that seven units symbolize wholeness or completeness, God’s sanctifying the seventh day certified that the creation was finished and perfect. . . . God ties his deliverance of Israel out of Egypt into the observance of the seventh day (Deut 5:12–15). Thus, on the Sabbath Israel worshipped the God of creation who was also the God of the exodus. In worshipping this great God regularly, humans exercise the spiritual dimension of being in God’s image.” Hartley, Genesis, 51. “The term ‘Sabbath’ does not appear here, perhaps because this account looks at the created order before Israel’s existence and the giving of the fourth commandment in the Decalogue (Exod 20:8–11). This text nevertheless provides a foundation in the created order for the observance of the Sabbath.” Hartley, Genesis, 55. See Keel and Schroer, Creation: Biblical Theologies, 151.

[16] “Not a break of exhaustion, but a cessation from the work of creation now that it was complete and declared good. Other ancient near eastern creation accounts close with the construction of a temple for God’s rule. Both the Enuma Elish and the Ugaritic Baal Cycle close their creation accounts in cultic dramas, in the building of great temples, and in the case of Enuma Elish, specifically as a place of ‘rest’. Likewise in the Memphite theology of ancient Egypt, the god Ptah rested after creating everything. At the conclusion of each of these, the cultic drama gives reason for the preeminence of a deity, of a temple, or of a specific cultic feature of life or worship. Similarly at the conclusion of Genesis 1:1–2:3, we have an etiological account, explaining the origins of an important Israelite cultic concept—the Sabbath.” Arnold, Genesis, 48. In ancient Near Eastern accounts, setting up a god in its temple or dwelling place often used the verb to cause it to rest, meaning placing the god in the sacred space in which it was created to operate and perform its functions as divinity. “In Israelite theology, God does not require rest from either cosmic or human disturbances but seeks rest in a dwelling place (see especially Ps 132:7–8, 13–14).” Walton, Old Testament, 29–30. “God’s Sabbath is a royal session on the heavenly throne of his cosmic temple-palace (cf. Isa 66:1). It celebrates the completion of creation and reveals that God, the Alpha, is also the Omega. This Sabbath reign knows no ending. Thus, the seventh day has no evening-morning formula; it continues forever and believers are invited to participate in it at last (Heb 4:3–10).” Kline, Genesis, 14. This concept seems to accentuate that the work of God is initiated and revolves around the Sabbath in God’s effort to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of his children. “In the ancient Near East as in the Bible, temples are for divine ‘rest,’ and divine rest is found in sanctuaries or sacred space.” Walton, Genesis, NIV Application Commentary, 151. The use of the word šābat for “resting/ceasing” is “a clear echo of the Sabbath” and “provides the basis for the Sabbath.” Day, Studies in Genesis 1–11, 17. “God’s rest on the seventh day provides a theological justification for setting apart the seventh day of the week as a Sabbath rest. The inclusion of observing the Sabbath in the Ten Commandments is specifically based on the pattern of Genesis 1:1–2:3, where God works for six days and rests on the seventh (Exod 20:11).” Mangum, Custis, and Widder, Genesis 1–11, at Genesis 1:1–2:3. “Later biblical writers continued to see a parallel between God’s ‘rest’ in creation and the future ‘rest’ that awaits the faithful (Ps 95: 11; Heb 3: 11).” Sailhamer, Genesis, loc. 2907–8.

[17] Notice the personal first-person account in the Book of Moses. From the perspective of God, the institution of the Sabbath is a divine blessing. The seventh day is consecrated, blessed, and made holy, signifying a change of status on that day. The intention is blessing and holiness for all of God’s creations, the Sabbath marking the end of the creative works but also the transition and beginning of the Sabbath as encompassing “all of the best of God’s intentions for the cosmos. . . . By arriving at the Sabbath in its conclusion, this narrative has arrived at its hymn of praise of the Creator. . . . But the creation narrative’s doxology—the institution of the Sabbath—goes beyond a hymn of praise because it asserts that time itself is God’s domain. It summons the reader to renounce dominion over time and all the uses we humans have for time. The reader is invited to acknowledge the lordship of the Creator over time itself, and therefore to renounce one’s autonomy by embracing God’s dominion over time and over oneself. Keeping the Sabbath is equated with acceptance of the sovereign lordship of God.” Arnold, Genesis, 49–50. See Waltke, Genesis, 71–73.

[18] “Made it holy (v. 3). As the Exod 20:11 quotation of Gen 2:3 shows, the subject changes in this verse from God’s seventh day (v. 2) to the ordinance of the Sabbath appointed for man’s observance. The latter was a sign of God’s covenant, promising ultimate entrance into the glorified state, the perfecting of God’s glory-image in man, and the culmination of man’s historical mission of building God’s kingdom-temple. It summoned man to imitate the Sabbath pattern set by the divine Archetype and so confess God as Author and Finisher and himself as image-son. It called man to celebration of God’s triumphant lordship and consecration of himself and his kingdom achievements to him ‘of whom and unto whom are all things.’” Kline, Genesis, 14–15. “According to Gen 2:3, the life-enhancing blessing of God lay on the Sabbath . . . through specific rituals and practices that mark it as a special time.” Keel and Schroer, Creation: Biblical Theologies, 147.

[19] Walton, Genesis, NIV Application Commentary, 148.

[20] Jesus further explained, “Wherefore the Sabbath was given unto man for a day of rest; and also that man should glorify God, and not that man should not eat; for the Son of Man made the Sabbath day, therefore, the Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” Joseph Smith Translation Mark 2:26–27.

[21] Arnold, Genesis, 49–50. “Is this seventh day the climax of creation? The intrinsic seven-day pattern of the text would surely seem to suggest so.” Moberly, Old Testament Theology, 47. The Sabbath seems to indicate a climax from God’s climax of creation—his children—to a climax of how he is going to work to exalt them via the Sabbath, covenants, commandments, and worship in sacred space.

[22] “The sanctity of the Sabbath is shown by the offering on it of two lambs, in addition to the regular burnt offering (Num 28:9–10).” Douglas and Tenney, New International Bible Dictionary, 876.

[23] See Exodus 20:10–11; and Ezekiel 20:12. In Ezekiel 20:12 the Sabbath is connected with pledges. The word אוֹתôt) can mean “a sign, pledge, standards, or witness.” Thomas, Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries. The Hebrew word שָׁבַע as used of the seventh day can mean “swear, take an oath.” Brown, Driver, and Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon, 989. The sacrament would later represent covenantal pledges between people and God and become a perpetual covenant.

[24] Moberly, Old Testament Theology, 47.

[25] See Restoration teachings and revelations on this topic in Revelation, September 1830–A [D&C 29], p. 39, The Joseph Smith Papers; and History, 1838–1856, volume E-1 [1 July 1843–30 April 1844], p. 1750, The Joseph Smith Papers. The belief that God created beings spiritually before he created them physically was espoused by others, including Origen, an early proto-orthodox Christian father. Asserting belief in a premortal existence, Origen wrote, “God did not begin to work for the first time when he made this visible world, but that just as after the dissolution of this world there will be another one, so also we believe that there were others before this one existed. . . . Rational creatures . . . have undoubtedly existed right from their beginning in those worlds ‘that are not seen and are eternal.’” Origen, Origen on First Principles, 239–40. See Scott, Origen on the Problem of Evil, 53–55. See also note 8 in the historical introduction to Joseph Smith, Revelation, 6 May 1833 [D&C 93], p. [1], The Joseph Smith Papers.

[26] “Indeed, Genesis begins at the very beginning. While the text describes how the world came into being, it simply assumes the existence of God with no explanation of where he came from.” Bandstra, Reading the Old Testament, 53. The Book of Moses does not answer the question of where God came from, but it begins to reference where we came from as his children created in his image and likeness, and it indicates that we had a “spiritual” existence with him before having a “physical” existence.

[27] The Abraham creation account highlights the divine council’s deliberations, contemplations, and orchestrations of creation (see Abraham 5:2–3), and the “account paralleling Genesis 2 then follows smoothly as an account of the actual placing of life upon the earth.” Bradshaw, In God’s Image, 85.

[28] The word generations has been perplexing to Bible interpreters trying to make sense of its connection with the previous creation material. Genesis 2:4–5 simply states, “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, and every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.” Generations is associated with the verb yld, “to bear children,” and “here signifies ‘what is produced or brought into being by someone.’ It is the nominal form of the root, meaning ‘descendants.’” Waltke, Genesis, 83. The anomaly is that the word should pertain to a person/people from whom someone descended, but the Genesis text is distanced from that notion in its ambiguity, leaving translators and interpreters to grapple with a word that is etymologically connected to a person but here intimated to what are ordinarily considered inanimate and impersonal creations—the heaven and earth (but compare Moses 7, where the heavens “weep” and the earth speaks, “groan[s],” “mourn[s],” and ultimately “rest[s]”)—leading to the only conclusion that can be drawn in the current confusing state of the text, namely that “the account pertains to what the cosmos has generated, not the generation of the cosmos.” Waltke, Genesis, 83. God restores original meaning and purpose to the root meaning of generations in the revelations of Moses 3:4–5 (see Faulring, Jackson, and Matthews, Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 598; and Matthews, “Plainer Translation,” 315), where he is directly related to the “generations” as the eponymous ancestor from which his children derive and wherein he, in the first person, specifically states that he has spiritually created his children in heaven before they ever were placed on earth. This revelation is remarkably consistent with the ancient nuance and context of the word generations and explains the spiritual origin of God’s children and the purposes of creation.

[29] Genesis 2/Moses 3 is sometimes referred to as a second account of creation. Some have tried to disassociate Genesis 1 and 2 and creation accounts into autonomous accounts that create conflicting reports about creation. The reference here back to creation is not polarizing but synthesizing for a specific purpose: “While some earlier source approaches tended to dissect and atomize these texts, an understanding of [Gen 2:4] as an intentional link between Gen 1 and Gen 2–3 teaches us how these accounts of creation were intended to sound together. The editor of the final text has produced a continuity between them, adapting and adopting the authority of the older account, and creating a new text that is greater than the sum of its parts. . . . By reading them together, we are thrust at once into the heart of Israelite theology, which equates the God of the ancestors of Genesis 12–36 with the God of Moses and Sinai, whose name is Yahweh (Exodus 3:15–16; 6:2–8). Israel’s covenant God is also the sovereign Creator of the universe.’” Arnold, Genesis, 55–56. As a result, “the tradition of the creation of man in Genesis 2–3 now stands in close connection with the story of God’s garden, the violation of the commandment, and the banishment from the garden.” Keel and Schroer, Creation: Biblical Theologies, 113.

[30] The significance of the concept has been summarized as follows: “Adam, our first progenitor, ‘the first man,’ was, like Christ, a preexistent spirit, and like Christ he took upon him an appropriate body, the body of a man, and so became a ‘living soul.’ The doctrine of the preexistence—revealed so plainly, particularly in latter days—pours a wonderful flood of light upon the otherwise mysterious problem of man’s origin. It shows that man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal body to undergo an experience in mortality. It teaches that all men existed in the spirit before any man existed in the flesh and that all who have inhabited the earth since Adam have taken bodies and become souls in like manner.” Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund, “The Origin of Man,” in Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 4:205. The revelations unfold the purposes of God for women, men, and children—all of God’s family.

[31] Keel and Schroer, Creation: Biblical Theologies, 140. For ancient parallels on the existence of individuals before their physical creation, see Pike, “Divine Election in the Ancient Near East,” 33–59. The Book of Moses restores a reliance on premortal conditions and uses it as a platform or springboard for the physical creations. The physical is an extension of the spiritual, not a beginning in and of itself. See Flake, “Translating Time,” 510–12. “Creation is for the sake of something prior and more fundamental: the divine project or plan. In the beginning, God subjected all things to his final purpose, just as an archer strings a bow in order to pull it back and load it with a force that strains forward toward its target (Romans 8:20–21). Thus, the very first verse of the Bible encourages us to read forward, plotting the trajectory of the text in all its extraordinarily rich diversity as it aims toward the fulfillment of the Word that is eternally spoken by the Father ‘in the beginning,’ out of which and for the sake of which all things were created.” Reno, Genesis, 38. For various traditions on a premortal existence before creation, see Bradshaw, In God’s Image, 134–35, 198–200.

[32] Herew yāṣar (“formed” or “shaped”) uses terminology of the potter’s craft (see Isaiah 29:16). See Arnold, Genesis, 57; Keel and Schroer, Creation: Biblical Theologies, 115; and Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 59. “The image is of a potter and clay: God as the Artist and bonded to his work. The image signifies a deliberate, not accidental creation. The same metaphor is used for creation of every human being (Job 10:8–9).” Waltke, Genesis, 85. Although this verb and its associated image do not explain the specifics of how this forming was accomplished, it does highlight the significance and personal nature of humans being brought into existence by God. “Man became a living soul—mankind, male and female. The Creators breathed into their nostrils the breath of life and man and woman became living souls. We don’t know exactly how their coming into this world happened, and when we’re able to understand it the Lord will tell us.” Kimball, “Blessings and Responsibilities of Womanhood,” 72. See discussion in Jackson, Restored Gospel and the Book of Genesis, 79–80.

[33] “The Hebrew word נְשָׁמָה (néshamah, “breath”) is used for God and for the life imparted to humans, not animals.” Mitchell, “Old Testament Usage of Néshama,” 177–87. Its usage in the Bible “conveys more than a breathing, living organism (נֶפֶשׁ חַיַּה, nefesh khayyah). This breath of life becomes animated with the life from God, has spiritual understanding (Job 32:8), and has a functioning conscience (Proverbs 20:27).” Biblical Studies Press, NET Bible, at Genesis 2:7. “When God breathed into man’s nostrils he became a living soul, before that he did not live, and when that was taken away his body died.” History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842], p. 1309, The Joseph Smith Papers. See Jackson, Joseph Smith’s Commentary on the Bible, 9; and Psalm 104:29–30.

[34] Garden [gan] here is from “the Hebrew root gnn, meaning ‘to be enclosed, fenced off, protected,’ ‘garden,’ [and] probably denotes an enclosed, protected area where the flora flourishes. It represents territorial space in the created order where God invites human beings to enjoy bliss and harmony between themselves and God, one another, animals, and the land. God is uniquely present here. The Garden of Eden is a temple-garden, represented later in the tabernacle. Cherubim protect its sanctity (Genesis 3:24; Exodus 26:1; 2 Chronicles 3:7) so that sin and death are excluded (Gen 3:23; Rev 21:8).” Waltke, Genesis, 85. “The Holy of Holies will have all the trees of the garden and life. The eschatological temple is compared with Paradise (Rev 20–21).” Waltke, Genesis, 85n18. The Septuagint translates garden with a Persian word for paradise. See Utley, How It All Began, 46.

[35] Eastward signifies a direction associated with the rising of the sun and light (compare the Latin word oriens, orientis = east, from the verb orior = to rise, get up, appear, become visible. The ancient temple will be oriented from east to west, reflecting the orientation of the Garden of Eden and its temple paradigm. See Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 61.

[36] Eden means “delight, pleasure, or luxury.” It may also have denoted “fertility” (compare Sarah’s statement in Genesis 18:12: “After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure [or fertility, ʿednâ] my lord being old also?”). On the latter meaning, see Bembry, Yahweh’s Coming of Age, 19. On the traditional meaning, see discussion in Day, Studies in Genesis 1–11, 25–27. “Genesis 2:8–14 describes the garden that God planted ‘in Eden in the east’ ostensibly as a place for man to dwell, but more likely as an earthly dwelling place for God Himself. Man’s role was tending the garden on God’s behalf.” Mangum, Custis, and Widder, Genesis 1–11, at Genesis 2:4–25. Beginning in second millennium, depictions of sacred trees are surrounded by wild animals, birds, or hybrid creatures or are flanked by worshippers. See Keel and Schroer, Creation: Biblical Theologies, 43; see p. 67 for images of temples as a continuation of creation, worship of the Creator, and abundance of life owing to proximity to the Creator. The location of Eden is disputed in Bible scholarship with no consensus. The Prophet Joseph Smith learned through revelation that its location was in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. The Lord would command the Saints to buy the land in Jackson County, stating, “Behold the place which is now called Independence is the centre place.” Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57], p. 93, The Joseph Smith Papers. “The spot chosen for the garden of Eden was Jackson County, in the State of Missouri, where [the city of] Independence now stands; it was occupied in the morn of creation by Adam.” Heber C. Kimball, in Journal of Discourses, 10:235. Brigham Young, in Discourses of Brigham Young, 157, stated that it was in “the days of Noah, in the days of the floating of the ark, [that] he [God] took the people to another part of the earth.” See Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:139–40.

[37] “God’s placement of the man in the garden suggests that humanity is meant for fellowship in the garden, with God, its Creator and Gardener.” Waltke, Genesis, 86.

[38] See discussion in McDowell, Image of God in the Garden of Eden, 43–115.

[39] See Day, Collins Thesaurus of the Bible, s.v. “idolatry.”

[40] Heiser, Image of God,” in Barry et al., Lexham Bible Dictionary.

[41] In ancient Near Eastern ritual animation texts of idols, a general pattern is followed: The images are crafted by a god via a priest in a sacred temple workshop (the priests ritually disassociate themselves from any part of the process as deity is responsible for the creation of the object), the statue is ritually born as a “child” of its creator in a temple orchard, the statue is ritually animated and given life through “opening of the mouth” or “washing of the mouth” ceremonies, and it is set up in its dwelling place in a temple or garden complex (and at times dressed in clothing), where it will enjoy its new life in its earthly residence. This is a general description of these rituals; variations occur in the manuscript traditions. See McDowell, Image of God in the Garden of Eden, 43–115.

[42] “Sin and death are excluded (Gen. 3.23; Rev. 21:8)” from the Garden of Eden. Waltke, Genesis, 85.

[43] See McDowell, Image of God in the Garden of Eden, 141; and Waltke, Genesis, 85.

[44] In first millennium in Assyrian art, sacred trees acted as a metaphor for the kingdom and for the king that guaranteed world order (compare Ezekiel 31:2–9). See Keel and Schroer, Creation: Biblical Theologies, 44). They can also depict God as a gardener in his temple; see Arnold, Genesis, 58–59. These sacred trees were a symbol of immortality, divine power, and fertility. The Israelite lampstand (mĕnôrâ) in the tabernacle and in Solomon’s temple represented a tree of life and helped highlight God’s presence as a microcosm of the universe and the template of the Garden of Eden. “The Eden narrative centers on the presence of two special trees in the garden. The first mentioned is the tree of life, which apparently bestows immortality on the one who eats from it (compare Gen 3:22). The motif of a plant or food giving immortality is known from the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh and the Myth of Adapa. The tree of life metaphor is common in Wisdom literature (e.g., Prov 3:18), the Apocrypha (e.g., 2 Enoch 8:3), and the New Testament (e.g., Rev 2:7).” Mangum, Custis, and Widder, Genesis 1–11, at Genesis 2:4–25. “God gives the humans the potential for life in its highest potency, representing life that transcends the natural. In Proverbs ‘tree of life’ is used to refer to anything that heals, enhances, and celebrates life: righteousness (11:30), longing fulfilled (13:12), and a tongue that brings healing (15:4).” Waltke, Genesis, 86.

[45] “The tree of knowledge of good and evil has no parallel in ancient Near Eastern literature.” Utley, How It All Began, 46. “The difficulty is discerning what is meant by ‘knowledge of good and evil.’ Elsewhere in the Bible, the idea of ‘knowing good and evil’ has various senses: proper discernment in legal judgments (1 Kgs 3:9); legal responsibility for one’s actions (Deut 1:39); the implication of mature decision-making (Deut 1:39; 2 Sam 19:35; Isa 7:15); and even omniscience (2 Sam 14:17, 29).” Mangum, Custis, and Widder, Genesis 1–11, at Genesis 2:4–25. See the discussion in Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 62–64. These very themes underscored the experiences of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and what they could learn through their experiences.

[46] The portrait here is God as the gardener and Adam and Eve as the gardener’s representatives. See Keel and Schroer, Creation: Biblical Theologies, 114. The grammar of the construction defining the responsibilities may be described as infinitival constructs of purpose. See Arnold, Genesis, 59n112. The terms in Hebrew literally mean “serve” and “protect/watch over, keep from harm” and are often associated with priestly duties and responsibilities. See Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 67. Adam and Eve are meant to serve and protect the garden, the place where God dwells, where he created them to dwell with him, and they are given priestly responsibilities connected with worship. “Work is a gift of God, not a punishment for sin. Even before the Fall humanity has duties to perform. Elsewhere in the Pentateuch this expression describes activity only of priests. The latter term [keep] entails guarding the garden against Satan’s encroachment (see 3:1–5). As priest and guardians of the garden, Adam and Eve should have driven out the serpent; instead it drives them out.” Waltke, Genesis, 87.

[47] See Wenham, “Sanctuary Symbolism,” 21; and Parry, “Garden of Eden: Prototype Sanctuary,” 143.

[48] “The knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:17) is judicial discernment (cf. 2 Sam 14:17; 1 Kgs 3:9, 28). The tree of that name pointed to Adam’s priestly task of judging the evil one when he intruded into God’s holy garden.” Kline, Genesis, 19.

[49] The only way to grammatically explain this construction is that it is a command in the Hebrew not to partake of the fruit. Partaking is not optional, and God is forbidding it. The construction is the same in the Ten Commandments and is used for “long-standing prohibitions,” indicating that one should “never” do it under any circumstance. See Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 67. Some see this prohibition as God “mercifully providing them a tangible symbol of their moral nature” (i.e., with the ability to choose). Hartley, Genesis, 61.

[50] “A curse balanced the covenant’s promised blessing, symbolized by the tree of life and Sabbath, threatening the opposite” (Kline, Genesis, 20) and can refer to both physical and spiritual death (see Waltke, Genesis, 87).

[51] See, e.g., 2 Nephi 9:6–12. For themes of substitution in the Old Testament, see Genesis 22:13. See also Leviticus 1:4; Numbers 3:12–13, 41, 45; 8:18; 1 Samuel 17:9; 1 Kings 20:42; Lamentations 5:7; Ezekiel 4:4. See also Exodus 28:38; Leviticus 16:21–22; 22:19–20; Isaiah 53:4–6. See Manser, Dictionary of Bible Themes, s.v. “substitution.”

[52] “‘It is not good for the man to be alone’ (Gen 2:18). This verse has nothing to do with moral perfection or quality of workmanship—it is a comment concerning function. The human condition is not functionally complete without the woman.” Walton, Lost World of Genesis One, 51. The function of Adam and Eve will entail, in part, creating a family patterned after the family of God, of which they were a part.

[53] עֵ֖זֶר כְּנֶגְדּֽוֹ comprises a noun (ʿēzer, “helper”) plus a prepositional phrase (כְּנֶגֶד, kəneg̱dô, “equal”), “according to what is in front of = corresponding to.” Thus the word translated as “help” has no hint of inferiority or subservience (Arnold, Genesis, 60) and “does not mean ontological superiority or inferiority. The word helper, used for God sixteen of the nineteen times it appears in the Old Testament, signifies the woman’s essential contribution, not inadequacy” (Waltke, Genesis, 88). “In the Bible God is frequently described as the ‘helper,’ the one who does for us what we cannot do for ourselves, the one who meets our needs. In this context the word seems to express the idea of an ‘indispensable companion.’ The woman would supply what the man was lacking in the design of creation. . . . The man’s form and nature are matched by the woman’s as she reflects him and complements him. Together they correspond. In short, this prepositional phrase [kəneg̱dô, “equal”] indicates that she has everything that God had invested in him.” Biblical Studies Press, NET Bible, at Genesis 2:19. Eve is portrayed as Adam’s saving grace, and she will be everything to him (reflected in the broad semantic range of the verb help). Adam and Eve are given responsibilities to cultivate, serve, preserve the garden, and enter into marriage together before God. See Keel and Schroer, Creation: Biblical Theologies, 117. The separate yet synergistic relationship between Adam and Eve has been described as follows: “Our Father knew exactly what He was doing when He created us. He made us enough alike to love each other, but enough different that we would need to unite our strengths and stewardships to create a whole. Neither man nor woman is perfect or complete without the other. Thus, no marriage or family, no ward or stake is likely to reach its full potential until husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, men and women work together in unity of purpose, respecting and relying upon each other’s strengths.” Dew, “Not Good for Man or Woman to Be Alone,” 13. Eve will become everything to Adam, and God is instructing Adam in these passages to always remember what it means for her to be a daughter of God.

[54] “The meaning of the expression ‘image of God’ has caused much ink to be used. That the ancient Hebrews thought of God as having certain physical traits cannot be denied, since numerous references are made to such traits in the Old Testament. The temptation is to see ‘image’ and ‘likeness’ in these terms, but it surely goes more deeply than a physical image. One aspect of the image seems to lie in the fact that humankind, like God, who is the ruler over all Creation, is given power to rule over the earth. The privilege of naming the animals signified power over them. Another aspect of the image of God must lie in the fact that humankind is endowed by God with intelligence and the power of creativity.” Tullock and McEntire, Old Testament Story, 42.

[55] Doctrine and Covenants, 1835, p. 14, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[56] Doctrine and Covenants, 1835, p. 15, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[57] This sleep is sometimes viewed as a revelatory experience for Adam and entails the reception of divine revelation. See Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 69; and Hartley, Genesis, 62.

[58] This is the only place in scripture where the word rib may reference a human rib, although it is generally considered as figurative here, whereas the word’s common meaning of “side” usually denotes an architectural structure or feature that encircles or encages something else (see Exodus 25:12, 14; 26:20). See Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible, at Genesis 2:21. “This verse reinforces the unique relationship between man and woman, Adam and Eve (cf. v. 23). It may be a Hebrew idiom for closeness and intimacy. The Hebrew word for ‘rib’ is translated elsewhere as ‘side.’” Utley, How It All Began, 49. “The word for ‘rib’ in a Sumerian creation account means rib, but also ‘to make alive,’ and Eve will be the mother of all living (cf. 3:20).” Utley, How It All Began, 49–50. The image of “rib” here may thus indicate a deeply personal and unique experience for Adam and Eve, tying them together in purpose, equity, and unity: “one of the man’s ribs. The intimacy and harmony that should support the marriage relationship is captured perfectly with this image (see also Eph. 5:28). In the famous words of Matthew Henry, the woman is ‘not made out of his head to top him, not out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.’ So also says Cassuto: ‘Just as the rib is found at the side of the man and is attached to him, even so the good wife, the rib of her husband, stands at his side to be his helper-counterpart, and her soul is bound up with his.’” Waltke, Genesis, 89.

[59] “For this reason [KJV “Therefore”]. This aside by the narrator indicates the archetypal intent of the story. Every marriage is divinely ordained.” Waltke, Genesis, 90.

[60] Here the Hebrew דָּבַק means to “cling, stick, adhere to at all costs.” It is the root of the modern Hebrew word for “glue.” Cleave is “a term of covenantal commitment” (Kline, Genesis, 20) and can refer to “maintaining the union in loyal love” (Hartley, Genesis, 63). “The imagery of Gen 2:24 emphasizes unity, wholeness, and solidarity. Hamilton demonstrates how the language of leaving (ʿāzab) and clinging (dābaq) evokes the covenant context: The Israelites are regularly warned about leaving or forsaking (ʿāzab) their covenant with Yahweh (Deut 31:16; Jer 1:16), and maintaining the covenant relationship is often described as ‘clinging’ or ‘holding fast’ (dābaq; Deuteronomy 30:20). Cleave here thus evokes the covenantal significance of the marriage.” Mangum, Custis, and Widder, Genesis 1–11, at Genesis 2:4–25.

[61] See Keel and Schroer, Creation, 119 for images of ancient sacred marriages, including two persons holding a plant, which signifies blossoming and fertility, and as a ceremony used to solemnize covenants. See also Malachi 2:4 for marriage as a covenant. “Genesis 2:24 is often understood as the Bible’s official statement on marriage: Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cling to his wife, and they shall be as one flesh. The NT writers certainly used the verse in this way to base their views on marriage on a biblical precedent that was earlier than the Mosaic law (Matt 19:3–9; Eph 5:31).” Mangum, Custis, and Widder, Genesis 1–11, at Genesis 2:4–25).

[62] Hanks, “Eternal Marriage,” 36.

[63] Mangum, Custis, and Widder, Genesis 111, at Genesis 2:4–25.

[64] For a discussion on the eternal nature of the marriage covenant between Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:24 within the framework of the book of Malachi, see Hugenberger, Marriage as a Covenant, 166, 342, which attributes both Adam and Eve’s marriage and the marriage scene in Malachi 2 to covenantal contexts. For Jesus’s application of the covenant marriage of Adam and Eve in the New Testament in Matthew 19:6, see Collins, Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, 418–19. See also Schade and Seely, “Writings of Malachi in Third Nephi,” 261–79.