Genesis 3; Moses 4 The Fall
The Bible account of the Fall of Adam and Eve is greatly enlarged and enhanced by Moses 4 in the Pearl of Great Price:
Genesis 3 summary
The serpent tempts Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit and she relents. Eve then offers the fruit to Adam, and he also eats. They try to hide their nakedness and to hide from God, who asks them about their partaking of the fruit. They try to deflect blame. God curses the serpent and pronounces consequences for Adam and Eve, including child-bearing and physical labor. God clothes Adam and Eve and casts them out of the Garden. He places cherubim (angels) and a flaming sword to keep Adam and Eve from partaking of the tree of life.
Moses 4 additions
The Lord teaches Moses about Satan: He is the devil that Moses rebuked in Moses, chapter 1. In the premortal world Lucifer proposed himself to God as a redeemer for all mankind, claiming that none would be lost and demanding that he receive the honor. Jesus Christ offered Himself to fulfill the Father’s will, with all glory be to the Father forever. Satan is a liar who seeks to deceive, blind, and make men captive to his will. Satan “knew not the mind of God” when he tempted Eve, and was actually seeking “to destroy the world.” The Lord placed the cherubim and flaming sword to prevent Adam and Eve from partaking of the fruit of the tree of life and living forever (Alma 42:5 explains this to mean that Adam and Eve would thus have “no space for repentance … and the great plan of salvation would have been frustrated”).
Additional points related to the Fall
- The Lord instructed Adam and Eve not to eat of the forbidden fruit, and also told them, “neither shall ye touch it” (Genesis 3:3; Moses 4:9). We are not only to avoid sin, but we also must not flirt with it.
- The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was “pleasant to the eyes” (Genesis 3:6; Moses 4:12). This is temptation and sin—it seems appealing!
- The Lord asked Adam several questions: “Where art thou?” “Who told thee that thou wast naked?” and “Hast thou eaten of the tree?” The Lord asked Eve, “What is this that thou hast done?” (Genesis 3:9, 11, 13; Moses 4: 15, 17, 19). Adam and Eve’s responses appear to indicate a desire to cast the blame upon others. The Lord knows all, yet gives us the opportunity to humble ourselves before Him and acknowledge our faults. We must be honest with ourselves and with the Lord.
- The Lord told Eve that Adam was to “rule over [her]” (Genesis 3:16; Moses 4:22). President Spencer W. Kimball taught, “I have a question about the word rule. It gives the wrong impression. I would prefer to use the word preside because that’s what he does. A righteous husband presides” (Ensign, March 1976, p. 72). “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” declares, “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families” (Ensign, November 1995, p. 102). Regarding the proper role of husbands, see also Ephesians 5:25; D&C 121:41-42.
- “Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20; Moses 4:26). “Eve” comes from the Hebrew Havah, which means “life,” “living,” or “source of life.”
- Lucifer’s statement to Eve, “Ye shall not surely die” (Genesis 3:4; Moses 4:10) shows him to be a liar who twists the truth to meet his purposes. And in this statement he is also accusing God of lying.
- God placed “enmity”—a state of opposition or hostility—between Satan and Eve (and her seed; Genesis 3:15; Moses 4:21). Apostle James E. Talmage wrote that “seed” refers to Jesus Christ, who will eventually “bruise” (or crush) Satan (Jesus the Christ, p. 43).
- The “curses” of the Fall brought difficulty, but they are all steps forward. All the consequences placed upon Adam and Eve put them and us in position to eventually gain eternal life (see 2 Nephi 2:19-27; Alma 42:2-16):
- “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception” (Genesis 3:16; Moses 4:22), thus bringing forth children and the family of all mankind.
- “Cursed is the ground for thy sake” (Genesis 3:17; Moses 4:23). “For thy sake” means “for thy good!” As we labor, toil, sweat, and fight against opposition, we learn, grow, and progress.
- “Thou shalt surely die” (Moses 4:25). Adam and all his posterity are blessed with a designated time for repentance (see Alma 12:23-24; Alma 34:32; Alma 42:4) and an exit from mortality.
- “The Lord God sent [Adam and Eve] forth from the Garden of Eden” (Genesis 3:23; Moses 4:29). In addition to a physical fall (their bodies became mortal; subject to illness, injury, and death), Adam and Eve also fell spiritually by being “sent forth” from the Garden and thus separated from God. This too was essential for growth.
- Jesus Christ, through His atonement, puts into motion the plan of redemption. and He remedies all consequences of the Fall and of our sins, transgressions, frailties, failings, and weaknesses (see Mosiah 16:1-9; Alma 22:12-14; Mormon 9:11-13).
Moses 5:1-16 Adam, Eve, and Their Children
Like Moses 1 and several verses in Moses 2-4, these verses in chapter 5 contain additional scripture restored through the Joseph Smith Translation. Adam and Eve were truly the first “Christians” on this earth:
- Adam and Eve accepted the consequences of the Fall and moved forward in obedience to the Lord’s instructions, laboring together as equal partners and bringing children into the world (Moses 5:1-3).
- Adam and Eve were “shut out” from God’s presence, but they “called upon” Him, worshipped Him, were obedient to Him, and offered to Him the “firstlings of their flocks” (Moses 5:4-5; this is over two thousand years before the sacrificial rites of the law of Moses were given).
- An angel taught Adam that his sacrificial offerings were a similitude (a type, symbol, or foreshadow) of the future sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and that they were to be accompanied by repentance (Moses 5:6-8). Is there a gospel principle or commandment that you obey, even though you may not fully understand why?
- The Holy Ghost taught Adam that he and his posterity could be redeemed from their fallen state (Moses 5:9).
- Adam and Eve came to understand that their “transgression” of eating the forbidden fruit resulted in the blessings of opening their eyes, bringing joy, having children, learning good from evil, and one day returning to God’s presence, in eternal life (Moses 5:10-11).
- Adam and Eve taught all these gospel truths to their children, but many of them hearkened instead to Satan, becoming “carnal, sensual, and devilish” (worldly, lewd, and under Satan’s power; Moses 5:12-13).
- The Lord called upon all to repent and believe in the Son of God, promising salvation (Moses 5:14-15).
- Adam and Eve “ceased not to call upon God” (Moses 5:16). This pertains to all of us.
Genesis 4:1-15; Moses 5:16-41 Cain and Abel
It appears that Cain and Abel were not the first children of Adam and Eve (see Moses 5:2-3), but they represent types and lessons the Lord wants us to learn (perhaps similar to Laman and Nephi in the Book of Mormon). The Bible says that “the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering; But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect” (Genesis 4:4-5).
The Prophet Joseph Smith explained why Cain’s offering was not accepted, saying: “Abel offered to God a sacrifice that was accepted, which was the firstlings of the flock. Cain offered of the fruit of the ground, and was not accepted…. It must be shedding the blood of the Only Begotten to atone for man; for this was the plan of redemption; and [the shedding of blood was] in imitation, or as a type, or explanation of what was to be offered through the gift of God Himself; and this performance done with an eye looking forward in faith on the power of that great Sacrifice for a remission of sins” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 58). Read Proverbs 21:27. We must always obey in the Lord’s way—not our own—and with a willing mind and heart.
- Study Moses 5:16-41, which contains a great deal more information about the rebellion of Cain, as inspired by Satan (see also verses 49-52, 55; Helaman 1:11; Helaman 6:26-31; Ether 8:13-25).
- What things do you see in Moses 5:16-41 that you recognize as prominent beliefs or practices today?
- Read verse 26 and ask yourself, “How do I react to correction?”
- What did the Lord do and say in verses 22-25 to try to help Cain?
- Cain’s declaration, “I am free” (verse 33) is a lie inspired by Satan and is the opposite of the truth, for sin is bondage.
- When the Lord confronted Cain, how did Cain respond? (verses 34-38).
- Part of Cain’s punishment was that he would be “a fugitive and a vagabond” (running from the law and homeless; verse 37).
- Also, the Lord forbade others from killing Cain and shortening his life and punishment. To this end, the Lord “set a mark upon Cain” (verse 40). This “mark” is not explained, but we must reject the notion that it was dark or black skin; nor should we believe unsubstantiated stories about Cain still wandering the earth; he presumably died a natural death and surely did not survive the Flood (see Genesis 7:21-23).
- The worst consequence for Cain was that he was “shut out from the presence of the Lord” (Moses 5:41; see also 2 Nephi 5:20).
Moses 5:55-59 “The Gospel Began to Be Preached”
As “the works of darkness began to prevail among all the sons of men” (verse 55), the Lord responded with measures to help His children repent and turn to Him (verse 56). Most importantly, He continued to send forth His gospel message. According to verse 58, in what three ways did the Lord declare the gospel? In what ways do you hear Him and His message? Read verse 59 and consider how the Lord’s holy ordinances bless your everyday life.