This Sunday, the Gospel Doctrine classes throughout the LDS Church will be studying the first two chapters of 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon. Among other things, these chapters contain the basis for Mormonism’s teaching that great blessings resulted from Adam and Eve’s fall into sin. The key verses are 2 Nephi 2:22-25.
“And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. 23 And 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. 24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. 25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”
I will just highlight a few things from these verses that reveal just how differently Mormonism looks at the fall. In verse 23 it said that they would not have fallen into sin, they would have had no children. Gospel Principles states, in regard to this verse: “When Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden, they were not yet mortal. In this state, ‘they would have no children’ (2 Nephi 2:23).” (p. 28). It expands the definition of “mortal” to include the inability to have children – something no dictionary I know of includes. Along those lines is this interesting comment made in the LDS Bible Dictionary. “Before the fall, Adam and Eve had physical bodies but no blood.” (p.670). None of this, however, is supported by the Bible.
Also in verse 23 it said that if they would have stayed in their state of innocence they would have no joy. Really? They lived in paradise – they were perfectly created by God – they had unhindered communion with God – and they had no joy? They also, according to verse 23, were “doing no good”. Again, really?
Probably the most widely quoted verse in this section is verse 25. “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” This is how Gospel Principles explains this. “Some people believe Adam and Eve committed a serious sin when they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. However, latter-day scriptures help us understand that their Fall was a necessary step in the plan of life and a great blessing to all of us. Because of the Fall, we are blessed with physical bodies, the right to choose between good and evil, and the opportunity to gain eternal life. None of these privileges would have been ours had Adam and Eve remained in the garden.” (p.29)
This then is just another in a long string of examples illustrating how vastly different Mormonism is from Christianity. There is no Christian church that teaches any of the above. There is no Christian church that talks about blessings – great blessings – stemming from the fall. They don’t do that because that is not what the Bible says. Throughout the Bible, Adam’s and Eve’s fall into sin is described as a great tragedy. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12) Period.
But thank God that he didn’t stop there. “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” (Romans 5:18) Thank God that he sent Jesus to be obedient and righteous for us. The fall didn’t bring joy. It only brought sin, sorrow, and death. Jesus is the one who brought us joy and eternal life.
Seeing the fall for what it really was – a tremendous tragedy – helps us appreciate Jesus and what he did for us all the more.