Old Testament #4 – “Because of My Transgression, My Eyes Are Opened”

michelangelo-the_fall_of_man_and_the_expulsion_from_the_garden_of_eden_detail

 “The plan of redemption must start with the account of the fall of Adam. In the words of Moroni, ‘By Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, … and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man’ (Mormon 9:12). Just as a man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ. No one adequately and properly knows why he needs Christ until he understands and accepts the doctrine of the Fall and its effect upon all mankind.” – Ezra Benson, Ensign May 1987

Points to Ponder

  • Why is it significant that, in the Book of Moses account, God emphasizes Adam and Eve’s ability to choose for themselves?
  • How can a correct understanding of the events and consequences of the Fall help us during mortality?
  • Why was the Fall necessary?
  • How does understanding the need for the Fall shape your view of the event itself, and its participants?
  • What blessings came about because of Adam and Eve’s decision to leave the Garden?
  • How do you cope when you feel the loss of God’s presence, when you have to step forward into unknown darkness?
  • What is the difference between ‘transgression’ and ‘sin’ and why is this distinction important?
  • What do we learn about Satan and his temptation attempts? How do you counteract him?
  • How can you show gratitude for Eve’s choice?

Materials Shared in Class

Study Help: “4 Key Facts to Know About Every Book of Scripture”

A proper understanding of What The Book Is is crucial to fully understanding What the Book Says. Lack of understanding of one will likely lead to and compound misunderstanding the other. A good framework to begin study of any scripture would be to identify the following:

  1. The Author
  2. The Audience
  3. The Timeframe
  4. The Purpose

In the case of the Torah (a.k.a., the Pentateuch, Books of Moses, or Genesis –> Deuteronomy), it is as follows:

  1. The Author: While Moses is traditionally attributed as being the author, historical evidence conclude that to be an impossibility. The Documentary Hypothesis presents a theory that the most likely author is an unknown anonymous priest, referred to as “The Redactor”, who collated and edited a variety of sources, not unlike the ancient Nephite prophet Mormon and his golden record.
  2. The Audience: Captive or recently liberated Israel.
  3. The Timeframe: Mid 5th century BC
  4. The Purpose: To refute the Babylonian worldview surrounding the remnants of the House of Israel, to establish YHWH (mistakenly but traditionally pronounced “Jehovah”) as THE God of Israel, and to demonstrate and remind how YHWH is bound to Israel by covenant, and therefore Israel is also bound to their Promised Land by covenant.

Study Help: Interlinear Hebrew <–> English Old Testament

Class Member Study Guide – Old Testament #4

“I will have nothing to do with a God who cares only occasionally. I need a God who is with us always, everywhere, in the deepest depths as well as the highest heights. It is when things go wrong, when good things do not happen, when our prayers seem to have been lost, that God is most present. We do not need the sheltering wings when things go smoothly. We are closest to God in the darkness, stumbling along blindly.”   - Madeleine L’Engle

“Transgressions” are only wrong because they are forbidden, like walking past a ‘no trespassing’ sign, or driving a car without a license. “Sin”, however, is inherently evil as it destroys another’s agency, i.e. murder, theft, etc.

Observations on the Nature of Temptation:

  • Approach #1 : Satan doesn’t challenge your faith in God – he challenges your faith in yourself. To deceive, not deny. To cause doubts, not disobedience. To distort truth, not dispel it.
  • Approach #2 : Focus on what you’re denied, not what you’re given. Narrow vision to that which we lack, becoming blind to all that we have. Satan says “you can’t,” while God says “You can.”
  • Approach #3 : 2 truths, 1 lie. “Ye shall not surely die…eyes will be opened.” Head-fake, misdirection, spiritual prestidigitation. Won’t tell you the fine print; focus on pleasures while denying the consequence. Short rides, cheap thrills, high price…with disappointment inevitable.
  • Approach #4 : Extinguish the spiritual fire. Wait until after nearness with God / others, then swoop in to cheapen and dull the experience.

Observations on the Nature of the Forbidden Fruit

  • The Forbidden Fruit wasn’t the essence of Sin…but its expression. It was the symbol, not the Source, of disobedience. The Source of Sin is internal, and has always existed as long as we have had choice. It is disobedience, rebellion, unbelief, and ingratitude.
  • The anti-thesis of Sin, then, obedience, loyalty, faith, gratitude, which is also expressed in sacred eating…the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper, (or in LDS terms) the Sacrament. Those items, like the Forbidden Fruit, aren’t magically the Source of Righteousness, but are the expression of a desire to live aligned with God. 

Conclusion

We don’t know everything that happened in the Garden, and that’s okay, and by design. We’re not supposed to know everything.  “If knowing answers to life’s questions is absolutely necessary to you, then forget the journey. You will never make it, for this is a journey of unknowables — of unanswered questions, enigmas, incomprehensibles, and, most of all, things unfair.” – Jeanne Guyon

But what we DO know is we may be grateful for Eve’s wise choice – she realized it was time to grow up and move out and become a new form of adult I believe she knew what she was doing, she reasoned out the consequences and was willing to take that step forward, and we hold her and all women in highest esteem, as did Joseph Smith who saw her and her daughters in vision, calling her , “our glorious Mother Eve”. Because of their choices, our eyes may now be opened, and may we likewise have such heavenly vision.

 

Additional Materials

The Documentary Hypothesis

Dr. Richard Friedman | “Current Thought About the Documentary Hypothesis”

Study Companion | The Bible Sources Revealed

Bible.org | On the Fall of Man

Encyclopedia of Mormonism | The Fall of Adam

Complementary Scripture | The 1st and 2nd Book of Adam

Mormon Matters Podcast | Genesis Part 1

BYU Speeches | “The Three Pillars of Eternity” by Bruce McConkie

Mormon Sunday School Podcast | “The Fall”

Posted in Gospel Doctrine, Old Testament.

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