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Eve, The Serpent, and Restraint

I find the entire saga of the Fall of Adam and Eve utterly fascinating and thought provoking.

While virtually all of the known Christian dogmas on this consequential occurrence view the Fall with regret, remorse, and disdain (often blaming Eve for succumbing to the temptations of Lucifer, who approached her through the medium of a serpent, and actually spoke to her in her language through that reptile), The Book of Mormon takes a radically different view of the Fall. Here is an interesting passage which turns the normative Christian dogmas of the Fall on their head. Here is the setup, by a Hebrew prophet of God named Lehi who lived in the days of the Old Testament Prophet Jeremiah (around 600 BC):

And I, Lehi, according to the things which I have read, must needs suppose that an angel of God, according to that which is written, had fallen from heaven; wherefore, he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God. And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind. Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies, wherefore he said: Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil. And after Adam and Eve had partaken of the forbidden fruit they were driven out of the garden of Eden, to till the earth. And they have brought forth children; yea, even the family of all the earth. (2 Nephi 2:17-20).

With that as a background, Lehi goes further and explores the implications of what would have been the reality if the Fall had never happened:

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. 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. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men care, that they might have joy. And 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.  Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. (2 Nephi 2:22-27).

So we learn from the Book of Mormon (as we do from the account in Genesis) that Adam and Eve, prior to the fall, were innocent. They were intelligent but naïve, even child-like – for instance, they, like typical two-year-olds, were not aroused by seeing each other naked. They didn’t grasp the implications of such things, even if they were in possession of post-pubescent adult bodies.

Just as the serpent had stated, once Eve (and Adam for that matter) partook of the fruit they had been forbidden to partake of, their “eyes” became open for the first time, and they became “as Gods, knowing good and evil,” (see Genesis 3:5; cf. Genesis 3:22); in addition to that, they lost their innocence and became aware of their nakedness, and with that came the emotion of shame.

I sometimes wonder how I would have acted if, somehow, the laws of nature could be bent, and I could be plucked from my current station within time and space, and be placed in the garden of Eden, right about the time the serpent walked (not slithered – for he hadn’t lost his legs just yet) over to Eve and began the act of tempting her to partake of what we call the Forbidden Fruit, the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.

Because my attitude toward Lucifer is anything but accommodating, as I see him as both the Father of Lies, as well as the Destroyer, I suspect my inclination upon witnessing the serpent approaching Eve and beginning a conversation with her based on half-truths, lies, deceptions, subtleties, and nuanced reasoning would cause my shackles to stand up on end, knowing that Lucifer could only be up to no good. I suspect my natural proclivities would be to get in between Eve and the Serpent, instruct Eve not to listen to Lucifer, and probably to confront Lucifer decisively.

But knowing what I know now about the Fall, thanks to The Book of Mormon passages quoted above, I suspect if an angelic minister were to come down from the heavens to coach me, that angel would say, “Ara! It’s fine to observe, but there are times it is best to not insert yourself into the action. Leave it alone! Do not intervene. Your impulses are noble, but misplaced. Let Satan think he has thwarted the plan of God when he will only be furthering the will of God. After all, do you see God intervening?”

Things are not always as they seem.

Ara Norwood is a multi-faceted and results-oriented professional. Spanning a multiplicity of disciplines including leadership, management, innovation, strategy, service, sales, business ethics, and entrepreneurship. Ara is also a historian, having special expertise on the era of the founding of our republic.
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