I do not claim the impressive credentials of Jeffrey Bradshaw. I do, however, disagree with his portrayal of Eve’s decision, and present my views for consideration.Beguiled can also mean "enticed" or "tempted." I think Eve was enticed.Some have said that Eve lacked the capacity to distinguish between good and evil prior to partaking of the fruit, and that without an understanding of good and evil, there can be no capacity for sin nor righteousness, or in other words, that she (and Adam) could do “no good, for they knew no sin” (2 Ne. 2:23)."I agree that she didn't sin. I would say that she didn't lack to capacity to distinguish, but rather had never been exposed to evil in her present circumstance. None of us can really comprehend something with which we have absolutely no experience. But that doesn't mean she could not intellectually understand and accept the fact that such a thing as evil was real. She had walked, talked and been instructed by God the Father for who knows how long. And, as was pointed out, and emphasized by being repeated three times in a row by by Elder Boyd K. Packer, it is clearly taught in Alma 12: 32 "Therefore God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption, that they should not do evil, the penalty thereof being a second death, which was an everlasting death as to things pertaining unto righteousness; for on such the plan of redemption could have no power, for the works of justice could not be destroyed, according to the supreme goodness of God."Eve had been shown the whole plan of redemption before she ever ate the fruit -or even was commanded not to eat it. Do we really believe she thought the Father was lying? If she believed Him, she was not tricked into believing He was wrong, but rather enticed by Satan to gain the ability to know for herself what "evil" really was, thus becoming like her Father.I think it interesting that Bradshaw ignores the fact that every single reference to this event which describes the partaking of the fruit in the Book of Mormon says "our first parents" were beguiled. That would clearly indicate the description of what took place as applying to both Adam and Eve. Satan beguiled (enticed) Eve with the news she could become like God in actually understanding what the difference was between good and evil- and then Eve took that same argument to Adam. Neither was “tricked.“Note the use of “entice” in the Book of Mormon:2 Nephi 2:16 "Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other. (Doesn't say "tricked")Helaman 7:16 "Yea, how could you have given way to the enticing of him who is seeking to hurl away your souls down to everlasting misery and endless wo?Helaman 6:26 "Now behold, those secret oaths and covenants did not come forth unto Gadianton from the records which were delivered unto Helaman; but behold, they were put into the heart of Gadianton by that same being who did entice our first parents to partake of the forbidden fruit—"And a clear meaning of what is meant in the book by "enticing" :
2 Nephi 5:21 "And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them."Clearly here enticing means "tempting."i completely agree with this quote by Pres. Russell M. Nelson: “We and all mankind are forever blessed because of Eve’s great courage and _wisdom_. By partaking of the fruit first, she did what needed to be done. Adam was wise enough to do likewise” (Constancy and Change, Ensign, Nov 1993).While Satan thought he was thwarting the plan by enticing Eve with the ability to become like God, who actually understood good and evil and thus could choose between them, he was actually assisting in carrying out the plan. Man was to be given the chance to become like God. And Eve was enticed by that fact--and wanted to become like God. She explained that reasoning to Adam- and he was also enticed by that outcome. Thus, as the Book of Mormon teaches, our first PARENTS were enticed into choosing that plan that can lead us to also become Gods. It was most definitely not a sin – nor the result of being duped.!
I enjoyed the author’s treatment of this material and would add my two cents.I think we like to attribute great wisdom to both Adam and Eve. While this is fully due them based on who they were and who they became, it is not overly warranted inside the garden. In the Garden they are enshrouded in innocence and it is unclear what admirable traits they could possibly have developed or possessed. What wisdom, knowledge, patience, responsibility, work ethic, resilience, charity, etc…. could they have gained there? I think we can admire the environment and its purity and goodness; we can admire the Spirits that were put there – noble and good souls ; and we can admire their later activities. But I only see one thing we can admire in the people in the garden before the Fall: their their purity and nobleness of intentions. That is, Adam and Eve wanted to follow God and do right. But they had very little skill to actually do this.Armed only with good intentions, they stood little chance against a cunning interloper posing as an authority figure. And when the interloper, Satan, directly contradicts Father saying, ‘no you won’t die if you eat this’, that removed the only obstacle the narrative gives us for not eating the fruit. Yes, God forbids eating the fruit, but it appears in the texts that His reason is because they will die if they do, not because He categorically forbids it.So I see an Eve that was innocent and desired to do good who was taken advantage of (tricked) and quickly admits it. Happily in the end Eve does get what she wants – knowledge, and the promised death loses its sting.To ascribe great wisdom to Eve is totally correct – but to ascribe it as existing and being active in Eve in the Garden, I would say is probably is not accurate.
Thank you for the article. In light of this, would you comment on Satan's comment that we learn in the temple? When Eve asks, "is there no other way," he answers "there is no other way." Every time I hear this, I wonder what that means. If Satan is the father of all lies, then his lie "there is no other way" must be false. Which is supported by the Nibley comment you cite in your article. Since you posit that Satan can tell lies and half truths, I'd be interested on your thoughts on this. Thanks.
Eve deceived? I'm not sure Elder Holland would agree. He teaches, “These terrible risks of sorrow and death were facts Adam and Eve were willing to face in order that ‘men might be’…They were willing to transgress knowingly and consciously… only because they had full knowledge of the plan of salvation” (Christ and the New Covenant, 203). Thoughts? Thanks.
Wow. What an amazingly insightful article. Thank you. I have wondered why God would give two "conflicting" commandments given to Adam and Eve - to multiply and replenish and to not partake of the fruit of the tree. It's hard to think that God would give commandments intending for them (or us, by extension) to be disobedient. The Hugh Nibley quote you shared was really interesting. Is that suggesting that perhaps Christ was appointed to give Adam and Eve the fruit at a different, appropriate time? That the transgression was more about taking the fruit themselves without the authorization of God? That perhaps the conditions of mortality *could* have come about by some "other way?"
Really remarkable and thorough article - thank you! Something that comes to my mind when reading about this event is, Satan surely knew that his actions were playing right into the Plan of God because he is aware of the outcome (his excuse is "It's been done other places") but he nevertheless played his role. Why? I think it's because his appetite for the sin and sorrow and mayhem he will perpetuate in the short term causes him to disregard the final outcome of his defeat and the salvation of most the God's children. Satan can't resist the short term reward. He has no self-control. Maybe I'm wrong, though, because perhaps he is not capable of seeing the big picture and has not figured out his role.
Lyle, very happy you enjoyed the article.James, thank you for your additional insights. As far as Satan's additional statement to Eve, I think there is some beautiful irony going on here. I think he said what he did so that Eve would be convinced that she should do what he wanted (and from his point of view, ruin God's plan as soon as she afterward took the fruit of the tree of life), but ironically (from God's perspective) it was part of God's plan, too, and it turns out that there was no other way for His children to gain eternal life by passing through mortality.
My goodness what an amazing article. Thank you to the author. I was moved by the insight it provided!
This article is a valuable collection of insight, study, inspired commentary and well-grounded opinion and is useful for all of us seeking greater understanding of the role of Mother Eve and Father Adam as we temporarily exited our Eternal home.
The process of leaving Eternity with the ability to return was obviously a sophisticated endeavor carried out by equally sophisticated primal parents. It's obvious from revealed word that we here on this earth are not "the first rodeo" in terms of Creation and Exaltation. I am eternally grateful to Joseph Smith for his three renditions of the Creation Story provided to us in their simplicity and teaching. I will never perceive Father Adam, who is correctly described as "the greatest of all save one", and his equally magnificent companion, as anything less than sophisticated beings working out their part of an Eternal Plan.
They, along with every other son or daughter of The Father, are presented with alternatives. They counseled together over whatever period they were in the Garden (as we measure time; a nano second or 500 billion years!) and correctly chose the path permitting our ascension to eventual glory. The war over Lucifer has already been won. As usual, he serves as just a tool to provide alternatives so that by exercising our agency, we can achieve the reward as described in Section 58 of our D&C where, if compelled, we "receiveth no reward". Lucifer has dedicated himself and his "angels" to snipe as many individuals as possible to deny as many of us our true destiny but he played a necessary role in The Plan that the Great Jehovah and we have sustained.
Being the "father of lies", I often wonder if his assurance to Mother Eve of there being no other way was in any way trithful? I doubt our first mortal parents were fooled.
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