Moses 4: Partaking of the Fruit—Knowledge, Accountability, and Redemption

Aaron P. Schade and Matthew L. Bowen, "Moses 4: Partaking of the Fruit—Knowledge, Accountability, and Redemption," in The Book of Moses: from the Ancient of Days to the Latter Days (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book), 193‒212.


The previous chapter described the events and circumstances leading up to Adam and Eve’s partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This chapter explores what happened once they did so.[1] God conversed with them, taught them, made promises to them, covenanted with them, and inspired hope in the future through the atonement of his Son, Jesus Christ. Adam and Eve learned that “to defeat the power which death had gained it became necessary that an infinite atonement be offered to pay the debt and thereby restore Adam and Eve and all of their posterity, and all things, to immortal life through the resurrection.”[2] The Prophet Joseph Smith was already familiar with Aaron’s teaching on the Fall to the father of Lamoni in the Book of Mormon:

And Aaron did expound unto him the scriptures from the creation of Adam, laying the fall of man before him, and their carnal state and also the plan of redemption, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, through Christ, for all whosoever would believe on his name. And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory. (Alma 22:13–14)

These concepts would become important to Moses in the sacrificial system God would set up through him (compare the book of Leviticus), and the Book of Moses accentuates this theme in the Garden and explains the wisdom and knowledge that Adam and Eve were able to obtain once their eyes were opened.

In the Book of Mormon, the brother of Jared, who lived long before Moses, had learned vital truths about overcoming the Fall. When he obtained a vision of the Lord through exceeding faith, the Lord gave him a definition of overcoming the Fall in terms of a knowledge of God that enables one to return to and remain in his presence. The Lord declared: “Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I shew myself unto you. Behold, I am he which was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ” (Ether 3:13–14). The opportunity to converse with God after partaking of the fruit, and the hope of returning to his presence that God would instill in them, would chart the course for Adam and Eve back to him.

The key point is that Adam and Eve knowingly disobeyed a commandment of God. Because they had done this, they had to suffer the consequences of that disobedience—mortality, with all that implies. Observing that it was an absolutely necessary part of God’s plan for his children does not change the fact that a law of God had been broken, with the attendant consequences. However, this could be repented of. Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, Adam and Eve, and all of us who are their descendants, can overcome every effect of the Fall and return to the presence of our Heavenly Father.[3]

God had not caused the Fall,[4] but he was there to facilitate Adam and Eve’s progress through his Son along a covenant path of return. Theirs would be a journey of becoming.

Partaking of the Fruit

12 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it became pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make her wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and also gave unto her husband with her, and he did eat.

13 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they had been naked.[5] And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.[6]

It is unclear to what degree the physical characteristics of the fruit played a role in Adam and Eve’s desire to partake of it.[7] What does seem clear is that becoming wise like God did seem attractive (not in an unrighteous sense, as he is everything we hope to be) to them. Nevertheless, they were setting God’s command in a secondary light and beginning to view the adversary’s contrary instruction as superior and correct.[8] Perhaps innocently, they allowed their conformity to God’s will to morph into conformity to another will that cunningly and maliciously cloaked truths with untruths. The result was that Adam and Eve began to see with new eyes.[9] The consequence of partaking of the fruit would be that sin and death would enter their world (see Romans 5:12), though death would be delayed (see 2 Nephi 2:21). Upon realizing they were naked—this on account of the serpent—their first inclination was to cover themselves with a temporary covering.[10] Later, God himself would provide a more permanent covering in the form of an infinite and eternal atonement and do for Adam and Eve what they could not do for themselves. The solution would be infinite and everlasting, but the consequences of the action had not been and could not be removed.

14 And they heard the voice of the Lord God,[11] as they were walking[12] in the garden, in the cool[13] of the day; and Adam and his wife[14] went to hide themselves[15] from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.[16]

After partaking of the fruit and hearing the voice of God, Adam and Eve hid themselves from God’s presence, initiating distance between God and themselves.[17] In an eye-opening twist of reality, their first instincts were to fear, a feeling they may have experienced then for the first time. The serpent had said nothing about this emotion in conjunction with partaking of the fruit.[18] Now Adam and Eve ironically wanted to separate themselves from God, foreshadowing one of the most grievous consequences of sin: spiritual death.[19] Despite their feelings of hesitancy at being in God’s presence, they experienced a pleasant relief as he welcomed them back.[20] The loving fatherly figure revealed himself, and Adam and Eve were subsequently called upon to stand forth and make an accounting of what had happened.

Joseph Smith taught that Adam and Eve were the pronominal referent (they) in verse 14 and, importantly, credited Moses with this insight, suggesting the antiquity of the revelation: “Moses proceeds: And they -[Adam and Eve]- heard the voice of the Lord God as they were walking in the garden in the cool of the day.”[21] Moses then witnessed the following words recounted by God himself in the first person:

15 And I, the Lord God, called unto Adam, and said unto him: Where[22] goest thou?

16 And he said: I heard[23] thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I beheld that I was naked, and I hid myself.

Adam and Eve were called forth to stand accountable for their actions. They had discovered their nakedness before God and sought to hide from him. This stands in stark contrast to Genesis 2:25, where Adam and Eve were naked but unashamed (highlighting their innocence before partaking of the fruit).[24] This contrast of feelings also indicates that Adam and Eve only later realized they had done wrong by disobeying God, which made them ashamed. However, their innocence and lack of understanding about good and evil mitigated God’s course of action with them and the curse would fall on the adversary for his deception of Eve in her innocent and unsuspecting state.[25] The conversation between God and Adam and Eve would provide teaching and learning opportunities of growth, trust, and gratitude. In fact, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught that at this time God began to give them even more specific instruction to help them:

In the beginning God called Adam by his own voice See Genesis 3 Chap 9 & 10 verses. [“]And the Lord called unto Adam and said unto him where art thou, and he said I heard thy voice in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked and hid myself.[”] Adam received commandments and instruction from God, this was the order from the begining: that he received revelations, Commandments, and ordinances at the begining is beyond the power of controversy, else, how did they begin to offer sacrifices to God in an acceptable manner?[26]

See after the fall of Adam, the plan of salvation was made known to him of God himself; who in like manner, in the meredian of time revealed the same, in sending his first begotten son Jesus Christ. . . . Unto Adam first was given a dispensation. It is well known that God spake to him with his own voice in the garden, and gave him the promise of the Messiah.[27]

Adam and Eve learned that the temporal changes would only be temporary and that as children who had been created in the image and likeness of God, they (and all their posterity) would have the opportunity to grow and progress toward eternal life. Furthermore, the world would eventually be restored to its paradisiacal glory and eventual exaltation as a glorified kingdom of God.[28]

God would gently lead them onto a path that would eventually bring them back into his presence. As Jeffrey Bradshaw observed, “To accomplish His objective, God seeks to ‘draw rather than drive him [Adam] out of hiding.’ Elder David A. Bednar comments: ‘There was no one-way lecture to a disobedient child, as perhaps many of us might be inclined to deliver. Rather, the Father helped Adam as a learner to act as an agent and appropriately exercise his agency.’ By this act, God ‘demonstrate[s] his own loving kindness, and . . . invites them to make admission of their faults.’”[29] We witness the teaching moments of a parent who instructs his children in obedience and in the nature of consequences and accountability for one’s actions. Having witnessed their Father’s mode of parenting, Adam and Even were now in a better position to be parents themselves in fulfillment of the earlier commandment to multiply and replenish the earth.[30]

Blame Game or Honesty?

17 And I, the Lord God, said unto Adam: Who told thee thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat, if so thou shouldst surely die?

18 And the man said: The woman thou gavest me, and commandest that she should remain with me, she gave me of the fruit of the tree and I did eat.

19 And I, the Lord God, said unto the woman: What is this thing which thou hast done? And the woman said: The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

Moses 4:17–19 and the corresponding Genesis text are sometimes portrayed as a kind of blame game in which Adam and Eve seek to duck responsibility in order to expunge their guilt before God.[31] Another way to view their responses is to concede the possibility that they were offering their honest reflections about what had happened.[32] Adam and Eve seemed sincere in their explanations to God.[33] Genesis 3:12 and Moses 4:18 are significantly different in how they depict Adam’s response, and the emphasis on God’s commandment that Eve remain with him accentuates why Adam chose his wife over refraining from partaking of the fruit.[34] At that point, his love for her outweighed being separated from her, a consequence that would have ensued had he not partaken of the fruit. Adam certainly loved his wife and was not willing to leave her, and in fact was commanded not to do so. Under these circumstances “Adam fell that men might be” (2 Nephi 2:25). Elder Jess L. Christensen reached the same conclusion:

Eve then chose to partake of the forbidden fruit. She subsequently encouraged Adam to partake (see Moses 4:12). Adam concluded that God’s command to remain with his wife (see Moses 4:18) was more important than His command to abstain from the fruit. Thus in the face of this enticement, “Adam fell that men might be” (2 Ne. 2:25).[35]

The Book of Moses text thus implies that Adam’s decision to remain with Eve was an act of love.[36] They had been married in the garden and nothing was going to separate them, not even the prospect of death. Adam would stay with her at all costs. She had partaken of the fruit and would be leaving the garden; he loved her and saw that following her would enable that love to blossom and develop under a different set of circumstances. They would also have an opportunity to start a family with children if he partook and they remained together. In this view Adam and Eve’s responses were less about casting or deflecting blame than about explaining why they had made their respective decisions.[37] God was not mad: he obtained the answers he had asked for and in the process allowed Adam and Eve to respond, discuss, and learn about accountability so they could move forward in a positive way.[38] In other words, he was teaching them.

As part of holding Adam and Eve accountable, God would lovingly teach them about consequences. He would explain to them that through the atonement of Christ they could overcome the effects of their decision and be reunited with each other eternally, just as they had begun their marital journey, and live with him eternally.


Eve’s response was not shameful in any way. When she said she was “beguiled,” this evidenced the innocent, good intentions behind her decision, she having trusted one who had flagrantly and deliberately attempted to mislead her.[39] Yes, it was part of the plan that opposition exist (see 2 Nephi 2:11) as it had in the premortal existence, and God did know all this would happen (see v. 24). Nevertheless, it was Adam and Eve’s decision that initiated the effects of the Fall and allowed a loving Father to intervene and provide a Savior. The process of gaining an experiential knowledge of good and evil through obedience or disobedience required that decisions be made with a sufficient understanding of the available choices and their consequences (accountability also required this). The initiation of this process in an environment of innocence appears to have constituted the sacred, practical function of the Garden of Eden. The garden provided an environment that would help exalt the process, not destroy it with an innocent transgression against God’s command.

In Eve’s response nothing insinuates that she partook of the fruit because she felt it was time to leave the garden and move the plan forward, or that Adam would not do what needed to be done so she did it without him. The text gives every indication that she meant what she said. Kent Jackson suggests that the “scriptures do not present the decision of Adam and Eve as a carefully reasoned choice or as one based on a desire to do the right thing. It is depicted instead as an act of disobedience to God’s express wishes (see Gen. 2:17; Rom. 5:17–19; Alma 42:12; D&C 29:40–41; Moses 4:17, 23).”[40] Adam and Eve began to understand the consequences of partaking of the fruit, and they were given to understand that the Father would be sending his Son to redeem them from this fallen state. They learned what Lehi would later teach Jacob and his other sons: “The Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given” (2 Nephi 2:23, 26).

Only after they partook of the fruit did they begin to recognize life’s opportunities that would help them grow, and they would eventually glorify God in their salvation:

10 And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.

11 And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.

The effects were glorious, and knowledge would open the way for growth. Adam and Eve’s combined understanding reflected what the Lord articulated to Moses in Moses 1:39—they now understood God’s purposes to bring to pass their immortality and eternal life and their individual roles in those purposes, a view they could better see with their collective perspectives. According to Elder D. Todd Christofferson,

For us to have agency, we must not only have alternatives, but we must also know what they are. If we are unaware of the choices available, the existence of those choices is meaningless to us. Lehi called this being “enticed by the one or the other” (2 Nephi 2:16). He recalled the situation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when they were presented with a choice, “even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter” (2 Nephi 2:15). Adam and Eve’s choice, of course, brought about the Fall, which brought with it a knowledge of good and evil, opening to their understanding a multitude of new choices. Had they remained in Eden, “they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin” (2 Nephi 2:23). But with the Fall, both they and we gain sufficient knowledge and understanding to be enticed by good and evil—we attain a state of accountability and can recognize the alternatives before us.[41]

Elder David A. Bednar notes the importance of moral agency and the proactive use of it as we apply spiritual knowledge gained through faith and experience:

In the grand division of all of God’s creations, there are things to act and things to be acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:13–14). As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we have been blessed with the gift of agency—the capacity and power of independent action. Endowed with agency, we are agents, and we primarily are to act and not only to be acted upon—especially as we seek to obtain and apply spiritual knowledge.

Learning by faith and from experience are two of the central features of the Father’s plan of happiness. The Savior preserved moral agency through the Atonement and made it possible for us to act and to learn by faith. Lucifer’s rebellion against the plan sought to destroy the agency of man, and his intent was that we as learners would only be acted upon. [42]

Curses and Bruising

With the means of redemption set in place, the story now turns to highlight another moment of accountability to which Satan himself would be subjected. The Lord would curse him further because of his deception of Adam and Eve:

20 And I, the Lord God, said unto the serpent: Because thou hast done this thou shalt be cursed[43] above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life;[44]

21 And I will put enmity[45] between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed;[46] and he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.[47]

These conversations would help establish a trajectory for Adam and Eve as they moved forward with the help of God and with hope in the Savior’s atonement. They would eventually be taught the law of sacrifice, and although they did not comprehend it at first (see Moses 5:6), they obeyed because they knew it was what their Father commanded and they were determined not to disobey him again. In time they would learn why they were sacrificing (see 5:7) and what it meant. They would also be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost (see 5:9). As Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

Adam and Eve—our first parents, our common ancestors, the mother and father of all living—had the fulness of the everlasting gospel. They received the plan of salvation from God himself. . . . They saw God, knew his laws, entertained angels, received revelations, beheld visions, and were in tune with the Infinite. They exercised faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; repented of their sins; were baptized in similitude of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Promised Messiah; and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. They were endowed with power from on high, were sealed in the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, and received the fulness of the ordinances of the house of the Lord. . . . Having charted for themselves a course leading to eternal life, they pressed forward with a steadfastness in Christ—believing, obeying, conforming, consecrating, sacrificing—until their calling and election was made sure and they were sealed up unto eternal life.[48]

The greatness of the omniscience apparent in God’s plan was that these events that included a temporary separation from God actually brought Adam and Eve closer to him once they came to understand right from wrong and their accountability to him. Because our Father blessed Adam and Eve in this way as they were coming to comprehend the concept of obedience, we have all been given a chance to come to earth and learn for ourselves while exercising our agency to choose the path leading to eternal life, returning to God and his Son.[49]

Consequences and Conditions

23 And unto Adam, I, the Lord God, said: Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the fruit of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying—Thou shalt not eat of it, cursed shall be the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.[50]

24 Thorns also, and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.

25 By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou shalt return unto the ground—for thou shalt surely die—for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou wast, and unto dust shalt thou return.

The Prophet Joseph Smith explained the relevance of these verses for understanding how God held Adam and Eve accountable and continued to communicate with them:

This was immediately followed by the fulfillment of what we previously said: Man was driven, or sent out of Eden. . . . We have seen, that, though man did transgress, his transgression did not deprive him of the previous knowledge with which he was endowed, relative to the existence and glory of his Creator; for no sooner did he hear his voice, than he sought to hide himself from his presence.

Having shown, then, in the first instance, that God began to converse with man, immediately after he “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,” and that he did not cease to manifest himself to him, even after his fall, we shall next proceed to show, that, though he was cast out from the garden of Eden, his knowledge of the existence of God was not lost, neither did God cease to manifest his will unto him.[51]

God was not abandoning Adam and Eve; he was preparing them for their glorious future.

Covered and Protected: Clothing as a Symbol of Christ’s Atonement

26 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve,[52] because she was the mother of all living; for thus have I, the Lord God, called the first of all women, which are many.

27 Unto Adam, and also unto his wife, did I, the Lord God, make coats of skins, and clothed them (emphasis added).[53]

Quoting biblical theologian Walter Brueggemann, scholar Bruce Waltke notes that with “the ‘sacrifice’ of an animal [for “coats of skin” specifically designed to “cover” Adam and Eve], God crafts for them tunics that reach down to the knees or ankles. Brueggemann explains, ‘With the sentence given, God does (3:21) for the couple what they cannot do for themselves.’”[54] The concept of covering, a powerful symbol of protection and atonement, symbolizes some aspects of what the atonement of Christ accomplishes. This covering, and the fact that an act of sacrifice was necessary to provide it, adds poignancy and potency to Adam and Eve’s story and what it would take for an infinite covering to infinitely cover them and their posterity in the form of a divine atonement. God’s performing of that sacrifice by taking the life of an animal to obtain the garments creates another element of significance within the story. Along this line, Donald W. Parry observes the following: “Conceivably, God sacrificed a lamb, typically pointing forward to the moment when the Lamb of God would be slaughtered as an atoning sacrifice on behalf of all mankind. It is also noteworthy that God himself ‘clothed’ Adam and Eve with the garments. Such personal attention by Deity to the matter of the coats of skins underscores the liturgical import of the garments. Candlish, who believes that animal sacrifice originated in the garden, has noted that since God ‘concerned himself with the materials’ of the garments, something ‘higher and holier’ was intended, some spiritual meaning and purpose for the skins.”[55]

It is possible that this process of clothing and covering Adam and Eve constituted the instruction as to how to worship and perform the law of sacrifice, while later Adam and Eve would be instructed as to why (see Moses 5:7–9). Michael L. Morales notes that the clothing of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:21 (“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make [wayyaʿaś] coats [kotnôt, tunics] of skins, and clothed them [wayyalbišēm]”) constitutes the same language used in Leviticus 8:13 to describe the clothing of priests (“And Moses brought Aaron’s sons, and put [wayyalbišēm] coats [kuttōnōt, tunics] upon them, and girded them with girdles, and put bonnets upon them; as the Lord commanded Moses”).[56] The coats or tunics of animal skins suggest the performance of sacrifices within the garden sanctuary/temple[57] and provide poignant and powerful symbols of priestly covering pointing forward to Christ’s atonement. Thus we can better appreciate the prophet-priest Jacob’s use of the Isaianic priestly image of being “covered” with “the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10) in describing the protection of Christ’s atonement: “Wherefore, we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness; and the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness” (2 Nephi 9:14). Jacob here contrasts “guilt,” “uncleanness” and “nakedness” with “enjoyment,” “purity” (ritual and ethical), and protective, sacred clothing symbolic of the Lord’s own sacred clothing (see especially 2 Nephi 4:33).

The Lord later revealed to Adam and Eve that the animal sacrifices were indeed performed in “similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten” (Moses 5:4–8) and thus that the Lord had symbolically, and perhaps ritually clothed and covered them in similitude of his atonement in the Garden of Eden.[58]

The law of sacrifice would help Adam and Eve recognize that only through the Lamb of God and his atonement was their return possible.[59] The fact that God “clothed them” with “coats of skins” (the verb used is a causative form and reflects God as an active participant in the process) may also have influenced Moses, who would establish Israel’s priestly class. Indeed, the words used here for the garment can be the same word used in the Hebrew Bible for when the sons of Aaron were “clothed with” or “arrayed” with the garments of the priesthood.[60]

With Adam and Eve clothed and covered, God would now give further instruction to them:

28 And I, the Lord God, said unto mine Only Begotten: Behold, the man is become as one of us to know good and evil; [61] and now lest he put forth his hand and partake also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever, [62]

29 Therefore I, the Lord God, will send him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken;

30 For as I, the Lord God, liveth, even so my words cannot return void, for as they go forth out of my mouth they must be fulfilled.

31 So I drove out the man, and I placed at the east of the Garden of Eden, cherubim[63] and a flaming sword, which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life.

Adam and Eve could not partake of the fruit of the tree of life at this time,[64] but God would institute forms of sacred worship that would remind them that one day they could. Later for Moses, and eventually for the Saints of the Restoration, this would eventually and ritually be possible through worship in holy places.

Out of the Garden

The Lord’s words in Moses 4:23–25 suggest that Adam and Eve would enter a whole new and challenging world. But they could do so with hope and optimism because they had learned that they were empowered with a knowledge of right and wrong and that choice with accountability was theirs. They could move forward knowing that, in the words of Joseph Smith, “God would not exert any compulsory means and the Devil could not.”[65] Throughout their lives, they would gain wisdom in applying those principles and would come to fully comprehend the joy of being with God and with each other eternally in immortality. All this would come only on account of Jesus Christ the Redeemer, who would be sent to remedy humanity’s collective situation by covering their sins.[66]

The Prophet Joseph Smith summarized the essential lesson of the Fall as follows: “The devil has no power over us only as we permit him; the moment we revolt at anything which comes from God the Devil takes power.”[67] Their Heavenly Father would explain to Adam and Eve how they could maintain righteous power in their allegiance to him. Joseph Smith would also teach, “Resist evil and there is no danger. God, men, angels, and devils can’t condemn those that resist every thing that is evil— as well might the devil seek to dethrone Jehovah, as that soul that resists every thing that is evil.”[68] This is the new power revealed to Adam and Eve, and both Moses and the Prophet Joseph Smith would learn the same lesson through their own experiences. God did not eternally condemn Adam and Eve, and he used the devil’s deception to facilitate their learning in a productive, inspiring way. Joseph Smith observed, “[S]atan cannot seduce us By his enticements unless we in our h[e]arts Consent & yeald [yield]— our organization [is] such that we can Resist the Devil[.] If we were Not organized so we would Not be free agents.”[69]

Hyrum L. Andrus concluded of the events in Eden: “It was not God’s plan to exclude the forbidden fruit from man’s view. The plan of life requires that man meet temptation and overcome it, though he should avoid even the very appearance of evil.”[70] The innocence in Adam and Eve’s decision is touching and instructive as they learn to follow their Heavenly Father in the process. With Adam and Eve’s power to understand, choose, and comprehend the proactive use of agency, God will continue to reveal to them the purposes of worship, sacrifices, covenants, and ordinances. The next chapter explores how Adam and Eve will attempt to teach these principles to their family as the devil continues his efforts to lead them all astray.


[1] See discussion in Day, Studies in Genesis 1–11, 38–41, for various interpretations of the events.

[2] Smith, Man: His Origin and Destiny.

[3] Draper, Brown, and Rhodes, Pearl of Great Price, 231.

[4] “At the time of the creation, all things that proceeded forth from his [God’s] hands were considered very good. How came, then, Adam to be mortal? How came Adam to be filled with pain and affliction and with great sorrow? It was in consequence of transgression. Hence, the Apostle Paul, in speaking upon this subject, said, that by transgression sin entered into the world, and death by sin. Death, then, instead of being something that the Lord created, instead of being something that he sent into the world, and by sin; the Lord suffered it to come upon Adam in consequence of transgression.” Pratt, in Journal of Discourses, 21:289. God was now there for Adam and Eve to help them move forward in their path of progression.

[5] Naked here can be associated with Adam and Eve’s vulnerability in their environment where nothing has changed yet everything has changed. Their new knowledge has turned a good situation into the perception of a bad one. Naked “usually describes someone stripped of protective clothing and ‘naked’ in the sense of being defenseless, weak, or humiliated.” Waltke, Genesis, 92. With these new feelings and associations of guilt, God clothed Adam and Eve and assured them that through the atonement of Christ they would be covered and that they were in an acceptable state before him (although their lack of clothing is not the primary cause leading to feelings of exposure—it was partaking of the fruit, and the serpent’s pointing out of their physical nakedness). God was attempting to alleviate the negative feelings Adam and Eve were having and replaced them with hope, comfort, and assurance once they understood the significance of the experience.

[6] “Instantly becoming aware of their nakedness, the man and the woman gathered fig leaves and made for themselves makeshift coverings.” Hartley, Genesis, 68. The Hebrew term used here is “loincloth,” and “these actions suggest urgency and desperation; the innocent serenity of [Gen] 2:25 is shattered.” Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 1:76. “The first view their new knowledge gives them is shocking: They become suddenly aware of their nakedness. We must address this statement seriously. For all the potential transformations that may have taken place as a result of eating from the tree, the text only gives us one before/after glimpse. Before eating they were naked and unashamed; after eating their eyes are opened and they know they are naked. This contrast draws together the issues of shame and knowledge.” Walton, Genesis, NIV Application Commentary, 206. The serpent had led them down this path of understanding.

[7] The Hebrew text uses the word חָמֵד (ḥāmad), meaning “desire, take pleasure in.” Brown, Driver, and Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon, 326. This is the same verbal root used later in the 10 commandments forbidding “coveting.” The text appears to be highlighting that the serpent had made disobeying God look good and acceptable. The description that the fruit “became pleasant” seems to indicate that prior to the conversation with the serpent the fruit was not perceived in such a way. The temptation had transformed appearances and opened a new perspective that was driven by encouragement to disobey, and the view of the fruit changed from the scope presented by God (see Hartley, Genesis, 67), and good “is no longer rooted in what God says enhances life” (Waltke, Genesis, 92). Desiring what God desires, amidst temptations by the serpent to assign various values to God’s assessment, seems to underly the story. Aligning wills and listening to God’s voice amidst competing voices is an important component of the storyline.

[8] “‘The woman saw that the fruit of the tree was . . . also desirable for gaining wisdom.’ In these brief thoughts of the woman we can see the temptation beginning to work its way into a transgression of God’s will. The woman’s thoughts show that this is not a question of rebellion. It is, on her part, simply a quest for wisdom. It is a quest for knowing ‘the good’ apart from God’s provision.” Sailhamer, Genesis, loc. 3348–50. “Sailhamer notes that the serpent’s temptation is portrayed as an attempt to achieve ‘good’ outside of God’s provision. He points out that the phrase ‘the woman saw that the tree was good’ (Gen 3:6) parallels the repeated refrain ‘God saw that it was good’ from the creation account.” Mangum, Custis, and Widder, Genesis 1–11, at Genesis 3:1–24. “One can imagine a variety of ways in which people might desire or strive to ‘be like God’—some commendable, others inappropriately ambitious or subversive. The aspiration targeted here is in the category of wisdom, a defensibly laudable pursuit.” Walton, Genesis, loc. 1887.

[9] See Bradshaw, In God’s Image, 1:255; and Day, Studies in Genesis 1–11, 43.

[10] Because Joseph Smith had already translated the ancient scripture of the Book of Mormon, he had learned from Mosiah 16:3: “For they are carnal and devilish, and the devil has power over them; yea, even that old serpent that did beguile our first parents, which was the cause of their fall; which was the cause of all mankind becoming carnal, sensual, devilish, knowing evil from good, subjecting themselves to the devil.” Day, in Studies in Genesis 1–11, 44, discusses that this knowledge should have been “acquired through obedience to God,” highlighting the concept of opposition within the episode.

[11] It seems important that in the Hebrew Bible, Elohim is consistently used in Genesis 3:1–5 in the conversation between Eve and the serpent. The name is usually conflated with yhwh ʾelōhîm, a combination of the names of Jehovah and Elohim, and are often interpreted as an unexplainable blend of the names of God morphed into one and referencing one being. The combination is rare outside the Garden. See Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 56; and Sailhamer, Genesis, loc. 3373. Perhaps the text is trying to emphasize the participation of Elohim as God in the events, rather than just representing a generic name for “God.”

[12] “The structure of the Hebrew and the context seem to imply that this was a regular activity where the Creator God and the first couple met for fellowship.” Utley, How It All Began, 60.

[13] The Hebrew term here is רוּחַ, “breath, wind,” and perhaps highlights the intimate nature described when hearing the voice of God. This is the same language used in the creation account describing the “spirit of God” as the presence of God hovers over creation. See Waltke, Genesis, 92. The experience is personal.

[14] The reference here to the married couple seems to set the stage for the subsequent dialogue with God. Partaking of the fruit would now negatively impact the marriage of Adam and Eve (death would ensue and separate them). See Kline, Genesis, 21. Whereas the marriage was performed between immortal beings with no end in sight, death would sunder the marriage if some rescuing power did not intervene. The husband/wife relationship sets the tone for what follows.

[15] The hithpa’el verbal form used in the Hebrew sometimes reflects repetition. Hiding themselves repeatedly may insinuate that God had to beckon on multiple occasions before a response was given by Adam and Eve and accentuates their feelings of avoidance.

[16] Much has been written about the feelings Adam and Eve experienced at this point in the story. “Instead of being filled with the pride of achievement and becoming like gods, they were overwhelmed by a deep sense of inadequacy and disturbing self-consciousness. . . . Their guilt made them ashamed and fearful of being in God’s presence, and the clothing they had made failed to provide them sufficient confidence to meet God.” Hartley, Genesis, 68. “Ironically, their opened eyes bring them shame.” Waltke, Genesis, 92. See also Arnold, Genesis, 66. These feelings appear surprising to Adam and Eve, being feelings they had yet to experience up to this point in their lives. What seems clear is that they do not like what disobedience feels like, and now they are understanding its relevance. Later God clothed them in a way that inspired confidence and constituted a symbolic gesture of the atonement and that all would be forgiven.

[17] Jennifer Lane, in “Presence of the Lord,” 119–34, notes that when Adam and Eve hid themselves from the immediate “presence” or “face” (pānîm) of God, thus actively distancing themselves from him, this fundamentally changed their relationship to him.

[18] Bible scholars have pointed out how the sequence of the events of the various conversations with the serpent and God and the partaking of the fruit are arranged “in a concentric palistrophic pattern” emphasizing the nature of the Fall and its consequences. See discussion in Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 75.

[19] For this type of feeling, see Alma 12:14: “For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence.”

[20] “The sinful actions of humanity reverse the creative activity of God, presenting a suspenseful question whether God will be merciful or punish. The narrative relieves the suspense . . . with surprising glimpses of the forgiving heart of God.” Arnold, Genesis, 66–67.

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

[22] The term used in the Hebrew (אֵיכָה) can mean “where, how”? Because there is no verb of motion in the Hebrew text for “going” in this line, the precise interpretation is unclear and might carry different nuances: (1) If where is completed to mean “Where are you going?” this may reflect the concept expressed in Peter’s words in the New Testament when Jesus asks, “Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:67–69). “Come back to me” seems to be God’s message; a meaning of the word repent is literally “to return,” and the phrase in question may be God appealing for Adam and Eve to stop hiding themselves and to come and let the Atonement cover or hide their sins through the conversations they are about to have. (2) Another application of the Hebrew word how may parallel the book of Lamentations, as in “How could this happen?” See Postell, Adam as Israel, 125. Either way, “God models justice. The just King will not pass sentence without careful investigation (cf. 4:9–10; 18:21). Although omniscient, God questions them, inducing them to confess their guilt.” Waltke, Genesis, 92; see discussion in Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 76–77. God is also lovingly walking Adam and Eve through a solution in which all will not be lost. God was encouraging them as he taught them. “The Bible has no portraits of divine pathos more tender than Yahweh’s voice in Eden intoning (3:9): ‘Where are you?’ Only a single word in Hebrew, this rhetorical question evokes the stern but loving voice of a father addressing a wayward child. It might be translated, ‘And what have you been up to just now?’ The question is not meant to elicit information about their whereabouts, as though God is confused by their absence. Rather God is encouraging introspection; why exactly are they just there, beyond the trees, hiding from the Lord who has provided all their needs and blessed them abundantly?” Arnold, Genesis, 67.

[23] Ironically, the same word used here in the Hebrew is also the word used in the phrase “to obey.” Adam and Eve’s hearing the voice of God when they disobeyed resulted in feelings of fear and uncertainty. See Waltke, Genesis, 93.

[24] In making this statement we are not implying that nakedness is evil or that it suggests anything immoral happened in the garden. What is happening is a change in social norms to what would become appropriate behavior as the human family began to expand and live laws that required modesty among one another. It was appropriate for Adam and Eve to now be socially conscious and aware of their nakedness since they would no longer be isolated within the Garden of Eden. In relation to Genesis 2:25, and metaphorically speaking, “the motif of nakedness is introduced here and plays an important role in the next chapter. In the Bible nakedness conveys different things. In this context it signifies either innocence or integrity, depending on how those terms are defined. There is no fear of exploitation, no sense of vulnerability. But after the entrance of sin into the race, nakedness takes on a negative sense. It is then usually connected with the sense of vulnerability, shame, exploitation, and exposure.” Biblical Studies Press, NET Bible, at Genesis 2:25.

[25] “There is a wordplay in Hebrew between the words ‘naked’ (עֲרוּמִּים, ‘arummim) in 2:25 and ‘shrewd’ (עָרוּם, ‘arum) in 3:1. The point seems to be that the integrity of the man and the woman is the focus of the serpent’s craftiness. At the beginning they are naked and he is shrewd; afterward, they will be covered and he will be cursed.” Biblical Studies Press, NET Bible, at Genesis 3:1. This concept of being covered revolves around the theme of the Atonement, which in the Hebrew is כִּפֶּר, “to cover over (fig.), pacify, make propitiation.” Brown, Driver, and Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon, 497–98. The devil was thus cloaking his shrewdness in the innocence of Adam and Eve (the two words for “naked” and “shrewd” look and sound alike) and counting on their innocence to execute his deception. “While arum is often seen as a desirable characteristic, its use in Gen 3:1 reflects the word’s negative aspects. The serpent is arum, like the enemies of God in Ps 83. The serpent’s craftiness is not something that protects or gives discernment. Instead, it is used to deceive and lead astray.” Mangum, Custis, and Widder, Genesis 1–11 , at Genesis 3:1–24.

[26] Instruction on Priesthood, circa 5 October 1840, p. 3, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[27] Elders’ Journal, July 1838, p. 41, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[28] See Doctrine and Covenants 130; Articles of Faith 1:10; and History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842], p. 1285, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[29] Bradshaw, In God’s Image, 1:262.

[30] A common question is why God would give Adam and Eve conflicting commandments: “do not partake of the fruit” and “multiply and replenish.” Being commanded to multiply did not necessarily mean to do so right away. Perhaps our first parents, who had begun learning about commandments and obedience, needed preparation before becoming parents. Indeed, such instruction came from the Father, who was teaching and loving them through the decisions they were making. Interestingly, the ordinance of baptism implies a time of preparation and learning of accountability through experience. The Lord told Adam that the purpose of baptism was to achieve the probationary period leading to repentance and forgiveness from “thy transgression in the Garden of Eden” (Moses 6:53). So timing and preparation appear to be a big part of this story.

[31] See, e.g., Hartley, Genesis, 68; Waltke, Genesis, 93; and Utley, How It All Began, 60.

[32] Cannon, in “Agency and Accountability,” 89, explained: “Spiritual maturity is understanding that we cannot blame anybody else for our actions. Some factors may make it harder for us to perform according to God’s plan for us, but being accountable for how we use our agency means being answerable for our own behavior. It is one of the things that I admire most about mother Eve—her absolute strength in personal accountability. When she was called on the proverbial carpet by God, she explained that Lucifer had tempted her with the fruit. But then she admitted, ‘And I did eat’ (Moses 4:19).”

[33] There have been several statements made about the deliberate decision Eve made as a result of her enlightenment and Adam’s unwillingness to do so because he is stuck on the commandment to not partake of the fruit. If we are not careful, we can punish and criticize Adam for being obedient to that commandment and belittle him in his good intentions to obey God. It does seem that Eve came to a point where she was valiantly deliberate in her efforts, but also innocently deceived by the means of accomplishing the great goal she had in mind, having been deceived by the Adversary. Moses 4:4 speaks of the “father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will.” “Satan will lie to Eve in order to deceive her; her eyes will not suddenly be opened with the wisdom he promised, but she will be blind with regard to her true situation.” Bradshaw, In God’s Image, 1:246.

[34] See Bradshaw, In God’s Image, 1:256–57, 263.

[35] Christensen, “Choice That Began Mortality,” 38. Fortunately, “as in Adam came death, and in Christ all are made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

[36] Elder Parley P. Pratt was moved by the Prophet Joseph Smith’s teaching about the eternal nature of Adam and Eve’s marriage in the Garden of Eden and how God had sealed blessings of eternity on their heads by the same power of the priesthood that was restored in the Restoration. Pratt explained the effect these teachings had on him: “It was Joseph Smith who taught me how to prize the endearing relationships of father and mother, husband and wife; of brother and sister, son and daughter. It was from him that I learned that the wife of my bosom might be secured to me for time and all eternity; and that the refined sympathies and affections which endeared us to each other emanated from the fountain of divine eternal love. It was from him that I learned that we might cultivate these affections, and grow and increase in the same to all eternity; while the result of our endless union would be an offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, or the sands of the sea shore. . . . I had loved before, but I knew not why. But now I loved—with a pureness—an intensity of elevated, exalted feeling, which would lift my soul from the transitory things of this grovelling sphere and expand it as the ocean. . . . In short, I could now love with the spirit and with the understanding also.” Pratt, Autobiography, 297–98.

[37] See Talmage, “Lecture III. Transgression and the Fall,” Articles of Faith, 72.

[38] Adam and Eve were not sent from the garden in anger but out of kindness and for their ultimate good. “From the vantage point of the Israelites, the world in which they lived, the world beyond Eden, was God’s gift to humanity, appointed for people in a decision based on his concern for their well-being.” Zevit, What Really Happened in the Garden of Eden?, 236.

[39] “The Hebrew word order puts the subject (“the serpent”) before the verb here, giving prominence to it. . . . This verb (the Hiphil ofנָשָׁא nasha) is used elsewhere of a king or god misleading his people into false confidence (2 Kgs 18:29 = 2 Chr 32:15 = Isa 36:14; 2 Kgs 19:10 = Isa 37:10), [or] of an ally deceiving a partner (Obad 7).” Biblical Studies Press, NET Bible, at Genesis 3:13. “Not only has the Devil come in the guise of the Holy One, he seems to have deliberately appeared, without authorization, in a most sacred place” (Bradshaw, In God’s Image, 1:248), where Eve was not expecting deceit. The word for deceive in Hebrew (נָשָׁא) is instructive. It carries various nuances from “beguile, deceive,” “forget,” “blow away,” “become a creditor,” or “cause to forget or neglect.” This is all descriptive of what Eve explained to God: “I really didn’t mean to, the serpent tricked me/caused me to forget what you had commanded; the serpent wanted to become my creditor; the serpent caused me to be neglectful, not because I was trying to be disobedient, but because he tricked me into temporarily forgetting/neglecting to be obedient.” This was not shameful in any way, and the serpent was cursed, not Adam or Eve.

[40] Jackson, Restored Gospel and the Book of Genesis, 94.

[41] Christofferson, “Moral Agency”; emphasis added.

[42] Bednar, “Seek Learning by Faith,” 19.

[43] “‘To curse’ is the antonym of ‘to bless’ (cf. Gen 12:3). In the Bible, to curse means to invoke God’s judgement on someone, usually for some particular offense.” Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 78. “Using the serpentine imagery of Satan’s chosen medium of approach, the heavenly Judge declared his punishment, ultimate in degree and perpetual in duration—though delayed in its execution to make historical space for the program of reconciliation prophesied in [Genesis 3:15].” Kline, Genesis, 22. Matthew 18:5–6 highlights this concept of how God feels about those who deceive his precious, innocent children: “And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Heavenly Father takes very seriously the protection and well-being of his children, and those responsible for their downfall suffer serious consequences in the eternities.

[44] “Upon thy belly” has its only parallel in Leviticus 11:42, “which brands all such creatures as unclean,” and eating dust “is figurative for abject humiliation.” Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 79. Eating dust also symbolizes “total defeat (Isa. 25:12; Mic. 7:17) in the Bible.” Waltke, Genesis, 93. The fate of the serpent is sealed.

[45] “The Hebrew word translated ‘hostility’ is derived from the root אֵיב (‘ev, “to be hostile, to be an adversary [or enemy]’). The curse announces that there will be continuing hostility between the serpent and the woman. The serpent will now live in a ‘battle zone,’ as it were.” Biblical Studies Press, NET Bible, at Genesis 3:15. “Renewal of covenant with God was expressed by its negative corollary, alienation from Satan. By sovereign divine initiative, reconciliation would be effected between God and a new humanity, elect in the messianic descendent of the woman (cf. Rom 16:20; Rev 12). Satan’s offspring are reprobate men (cf. John 8:33, 34; 1 John 3:8ff.).” Kline, Genesis, 22. He who was an enemy to God in the premortal existence would continue that opposition on earth.

[46] “Since the woman’s seed struggles against the serpent’s seed, we infer that it has a collective sense. But since only the head of the serpent is represented as crushed, we expect an individual to deliver the fatal blow and to be struck uniquely on his heel.” Waltke, Genesis, 93. The woman’s seed may be viewed as a reference to Christ and his atonement. The bruising of his heel may be a play on words, as heel in Hebrew is from the root of the name of the eponymous ancestor of Israel, namely Jacob (having to do with a “heel”). God’s people will temporarily be bruised, but through the atonement of Christ, victory over sin and death will be won. This verse is sometimes labeled “the protevangelium, the ‘first good news,’ or first messianic prophecy.” Arnold, Genesis, 69. Christ is that messianic figure who will win the victory. See Hartley, Genesis, 69. “His Atonement is infinite—without an end. It was also infinite in that all humankind would be saved from never-ending death. It was infinite in terms of His immense suffering. It was infinite in time, putting an end to the preceding prototype of animal sacrifice. It was infinite in scope—it was to be done once for all. And the mercy of the Atonement extends not only to an infinite number of people, but also to an infinite number of worlds created by Him. It was infinite beyond any human scale of measurement or mortal comprehension. Jesus was the only one who could offer such an infinite atonement, since He was born of a mortal mother and an immortal Father. Because of that unique birthright, Jesus was an infinite Being.” Nelson, “Atonement,” 35.

[47] “Head . . . heel. Christ will execute the curse on Satan here announced. Victory over the Adversary, bringing deliverance to the rest of the woman’s seed, involves atonement for sin. Suffering is the way to Messiah’s glory (Isa 53:12; Luke 24:26, 46; 1 Pet 1:11; Rev 12:10, 11).” Kline, Genesis, 23. The parallelism of injury “suggests that both individuals are grievously wounded. There must be struggle, affliction, and suffering to win this battle over the Serpent (see Isa. 53:12; Luke 24:26, 46–47; Rom. 16:20; 2 Cor. 1:5–7; Col. 1:24; 1 Peter 1:11). God’s judgment reveals that suffering plays a part in those who identify with God’s overcoming of the Serpent.” Waltke, Genesis, 94. The language of the text underscores the great cost of the atonement of Jesus Christ.

[48] McConkie, Mortal Messiah, 1:228–29.

[49] The temple’s ritual drama in Nauvoo, based on these texts, would reenact these significant events. See Parry, “Garden of Eden: Prototype Sanctuary.” “The events associated with the Garden of Eden make it the archetype of our temples, here Adam received the priesthood, here Adam and Eve walked and talked with God; here our first parents were eternally married by God himself; here they learned of the tree of good and evil and of the tree of life; here they were taught the law of sacrifice and clothed in garments of skin; and from here they ventured into the lone and dreary world that they and their posterity might prove themselves worthy to return again to that divine presence.” McConkie, Gospel Symbolism, 258.

[50] “In the temptation the serpent promises that the man and the woman will know ‘good and evil’ (v. 5), just as God knows ‘good and evil.’ Presumably the man and the woman believe they will obtain the knowledge of ‘good and evil’ when they eat the fruit, but they seem to have assumed that their newfound knowledge will lead them only to enjoy the ‘good.’ The possibility that they will also know the ‘bad’ and not the ‘good’ is not raised in the narrative prior to their eating of the fruit.” Sailhamer, Genesis, loc. 3356–59. God is explaining what all this will feel like.

[51] Doctrine and Covenants, 1835, pp. 15–16, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[52] “EVE (Heb. hawwâh, life, living).” Douglas and Tenney, New International Bible Dictionary, 329, s.v. “Eve.” Eve is the giver of life, and the name foreshadows that she will fulfill this destiny.

[53] The act of clothing Adam and Eve “depicts an image of God’s tender care for the couple. Through his sacrifice, he restores the alienated couple to fellowship with him and one another.” Waltke, Genesis, 95; see also Kline, Genesis, 24. “I, the Lord God, . . . clothed them: The pattern is that God puts the clothing that He has made on Adam and Eve. They do not put the pieces on themselves. One point is that the clothing is sacred, because God made it, and a person does not have the right to take sacred matters in hand without God’s authorization. In a word, all is a gift from God.” Draper, Brown, and Rhodes, Pearl of Great Price, 49.

[54] Waltke, Genesis, 95.

[55] Parry, “Garden of Eden: Prototype Sanctuary,” 142.

[56] See Morales, Biblical Theology of the Book of Leviticus, 53.

[57] See Parry, “Garden of Eden: Prototype Sanctuary,” 141–43.

[58] See Bowen, “Allusions to Esau in the Book of Enos,” 47–48.

[59] Alma 34:14–16: “And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal. And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance. And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.”

[60] “God made coats of skins—taught them to make these for themselves. This implies the institution of animal sacrifice, which was undoubtedly of divine appointment, and instruction in the only acceptable mode of worship for sinful creatures, through faith in a Redeemer (Heb 9:22).” Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory, 1:20.

[61] This seems to be an acknowledgement that Adam and Eve now understand choice, opposition, and accountability. They are not perfect, but they are sufficiently capable of choosing with an understanding of the choices before them, something the whole of this experience has helped Adam and Eve learn.

[62] Elder James E. Talmage, in Articles of Faith, 66, explained: “The result of their fall could have been of none but ill effect had they [the fallen ones] been immediately brought to a condition of immortality, without repentance, without atonement. In the despair following their realization of the great change that had come upon them, and in the light of the knowledge they had gained at such cost as to the virtues of the [fruit that grew on the] tree of life, it would have been natural for them to seek the seeming advantage of an immediate escape by partaking of the immortalizing [celestial] food. It was in mercy that they were [deprived of the means of] so doing.” The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “Death was the consequence of sin entering the world— God sent angels to guard the tree of life for fear man should eat & live fore ever in sin.” Minutes and Discourses, 6–9 April 1844, as Reported by Thomas Bullock, p. 26, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[63]Angelic sentries (Heb ‘cherubim’). The cherubim in the Bible seem to be a class of angels that are composite in appearance. Their main task seems to be guarding. Here they guard the way to the tree of life. The curtain in the tabernacle was to be embroidered with cherubim as well, symbolically guarding the way to God.” Biblical Studies Press, NET Bible, at Genesis 3:24. Kline, in Genesis, 24, views the cherubs as taking “over man’s forfeited guardianship of Eden.” Priestly duties within temples would reinstate the function of guardianship over sacred space as commissioned by God. “The fact that the Garden is guarded shows it was a special place, a protected environment, which is now off limits to humankind.” Utley, “How It All Began, 67. “In other than biblical usage the English plural is cherubs. The cherubim and a flaming sword were placed at the east of Eden to guard the way to the Tree of Life after Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:24). The curtains of the tabernacle were embroidered with cherubim (Exodus 26:1). God directed Moses to place two cherubim of beaten gold on the mercy seat above the ark, where God would commune with Moses in the tabernacle (25:18–22; 37:7–9). God’s glory rested between the cherubim (Num 7:89; 1 Sam 4:4; 2 Sam 6:2; 2 Kings 19:15; Ps 80:1; 99:1; Isa 37:16), in both the tabernacle and the temple. The cherubim in the temple were huge figures newly made for the purpose (1 Kings 6:23–28; 2 Chron 3:10–13; 5:7–8). Carved cherubim also ornamented the walls of the temple (1 Kings 6:29). Hebrews 9:5 mentions the cherubim in the tabernacle. David sings of God riding on a cherub (2 Sam 22:11; Ps 18:10). Psalm 18 pictures a storm with God riding on and speaking from the clouds.” Douglas and Tenney, New International Bible Dictionary, s.v. “cherub.” The presence of cherubs became a powerful symbol of sacred space and the requirements to access it as temple worship throughout the ages developed. Cherubs often flanked ancient temples and became an important part of temple worship in the ritual drama in the Nauvoo Temple. The Book of Moses seems to be an important component of this development.

[64] Alma 12:23–27, 31–32 offers important commentary on this episode. See Alma 42:4–27.

[65] Discourse, 16 May 1841, as Reported by Times and Seasons, p. 429, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[66] 2 Nephi 10:24: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.”

[67] Discourse, 5 January 1841, as Reported by William Clayton, p. 8, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[68] Discourse, 28 April 1842, as Reported by Eliza R. Snow, p. [38], The Joseph Smith Papers.

[69] Account of Meeting, circa 16 March 1841, as Reported by William P. McIntire, p. [16], The Joseph Smith Papers (minimally adjusted for readability).

[70] Andrus, Doctrinal Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price, 187.