The Glorious Fall of Adam and Eve
Did this title make you do a double-take? The words “glorious” and “fall of Adam and Eve” don’t sound right together. But that is how their fall is described in the September issue of the Ensign. Bruce C. Hafen, a former General Authority of the LDS Church, writes: “The restored gospel – unlike the rest of Christianity – teaches that Eve and Adam’s choice in the garden was not a mistake or an accident; rather, it was a deliberate, even glorious, part of the plan of salvation.” (my emphasis)
What????? That is the usual reaction of Christians when they first hear this.
But what Christians often don’t realize is that this teaching of the fall being a glorious part of the plan of salvation is not one relegated to the fringes of Mormonism. It lies at its heart and core. The article from which this quote is taken focuses on the LDS temple and how the fall is emphasized in the temple rituals. In fact, Hafen quotes his friend who had asked him: “If Christ is at the center of the gospel and the temple, why doesn’t the temple endowment teach the story of Christ’s life? What’s all this talk about Adam and Eve?”
The fall is not just emphasized in LDS temples either. One of the most widely quoted passages from the Book of Mormon is 2 Nephi 2:23-25. It says that if Adam would not have fallen, “they would have had no children; wherefore 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. . . Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” Without the fall, according to Mormonism, we could never have children or experience true joy. Both points are in clear contradiction of the Bible.
Note also what it says about the results of the fall. “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” In effect, it says the fall addressed the two false conditions mentioned above. “Men might be” refers to the Mormonism’s teaching that the fall gave Adam and Eve the ability to have children. (This is an entirely false premise.) “They might have joy” refers to the LDS belief that people can’t have joy until they experience misery. (Another entirely false premise.) Thus, according to Mormonism, the fall was glorious because it allowed people to supply earthly bodies for Heavenly Father’s spirit children so that they could continue their progression to godhood. It was also glorious because, by introducing misery into the world, it produced joy.
I spent all this time on the fall not so much to help you understand the LDS view of it. Honestly, it is so foreign to the biblical view that it is difficult to wrap one’s arms around it. Rather I have shared this as a good example of how differently Mormons look at many Bible passages and stories. That is important for you to wrap your arms around if you want to witness to them. Far too many Christians and Mormons have thought that they were in basic agreement because they assumed agreement on a Bible story without taking the time to explore it with each other. But when you take the time to really delve into stories or passages, the differences begin to emerge. This has happened repeatedly with the Christians who are witnessing to LDS missionaries. Frequently the LDS missionaries will remark that they have never thought about or heard a passage or story explained like the Christian explained it. That realization then lays a good foundation for fruitful discussions.
Everywhere you turn Mormonism sends a drastically different message from the Bible. See that and then clearly share with them the biblical message – not just on the fall but also on God’s answer to the fall in the person of Jesus who did everything for us.