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OT Lesson 4 Study Notes: Moses 4; 5:1-15; 6:48-62

Posted by Jim F. on January 16, 2010

These notes focus on Moses 4, giving less attention to the other scriptures for this lesson. However, the other readings are necessary to understanding chapter 4. (The study questions for Moses 4:1-4 were part of the materials for lesson 2. I repeat them here so that they will be convenient.)

Note that if Moses 2 tells of the spiritual creation (as is commonly but not universally believed among Latter-day Saints), then chapters 3 and 4 correspond to Moses 2:24-30, the sixth day. That would mean that carrying out the physical aspect of each day’s creation involved considerably more than we see explained in Moses 2.

Moses 4

Verse 1: Why does the Lord say “that Satan,” using a demonstrative pronoun, rather than just “Satan”? Perhaps knowing what the word satan means will explain why the Lord refers to this being as “that Satan.” (How would we find the meaning of the word satan?) The Lord’s reference to Moses commanding Satan takes us back to Moses 1:13-15. Why is that reminder here? What does it mean to say that Satan was with the Father from the beginning? Compare the offer, “I will be thy son,” with what happens in Moses 1:19 and 5:13. What do we see? Why does Satan say “I will be thy son” rather than “I am thy son?” Isn’t he already a son of God? Does D&C 29:36 shed any light on why Satan’s request, “Give my thine honor,” was wrong? Do we ever try to assume the honor of God? If so, how?

Verse 2: What do you make of the difference between the way that the Father describes Satan in the previous verse and the way he describes Christ in this verse: “my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning” compared to “the same which was from the beginning”? Does that tell us anything about what Satan was suggesting in the previous verse?

Verse 3: When did Satan rebel? Have we seen that happen yet? If so, where? If not, why does the Lord speak of it here in the past tense? What do you make of the difference between the way Satan describes his plan—”I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost”—and the way the Father describes his plan: “Satan . . . sought to destroy the agency of man”? According to the scriptures, what is agency? (See 2 Nephi 2:16, 23, 27; Romans 8:2.)

Verse 4: What does it mean to say “he became Satan” (my emphasis)? The answer to the question about the meaning of the word satan may also be the answer to this question. Why is “father of all lies” such a descriptive title for Satan? (Remember this name for him when we study the story of Adam and Eve.) What does it mean to say that those who follow him will be led “captive at his will”? What does it mean to say that those who follow Satan are those who will not hearken to God’s voice? What makes a person a follower of Satan? How does one avoid being one?

Verse 5: What does it mean to say that the serpent was subtle?

Another translation of the Hebrew word used at the corresponding verse in Genesis is “cunning” or “shrewd.” What does it mean to say that the serpent is cunning?

How do we see his subtlety or cunning in this story?

If we look at the language in Genesis, we see a play on words in Hebrew that shows a connection between Moses 3:25 and this verse: the word translated “naked” is spelled almost exactly the same as the word translated subtle. It even appears that the writer has gone out of his way to make that play on words, that it isn’t an accident. What do you make of that connection? What is Moses trying to do by connecting these two verses and the ideas represented by “naked,” on the one hand, and “subtle,” on the other?

Verse 6: What did Satan put in the heart of the serpent? Who are the many that Satan had drawn after him? What does it mean to say that Satan didn’t know the mind of God? What is the connection between not knowing God’s mind and seeking to destroy the world?

Verse 7: Another translation of Satan’s question is, “Did God really say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?’” Why does he begin with a question? What kinds of things does Satan insinuate with his question?

Verses 8-9: Why does the woman emphasize that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is in the middle of the Garden? How is its position relevant to our understanding? Why does the woman add to the prohibition? (Compare this verse to Moses 3:16-17 to see what she has added.) Is it significant that the prohibition was given to Adam before the woman was created?

Verses 10-11: What is the serpent saying when he says, “Ye shall not surely die”? What kind of doubt is he trying to plant?

The Hebrew of Genesis 3:4 is ambiguous. It could mean either “It is not certain that you will die” or “It is certain that you will not die,” though the first one is probably best. Why do you think the serpent speaks ambiguously here?

What ambiguity in the meaning of die is the serpent playing on? What meanings can it have other than physical death? Notice that the serpent’s words in verse 11 are almost exactly the same as those of the Lord in verse 22. What things does The serpent prophesy? Notice that each of them comes true. What, then, is the serpent’s lie? What motive does he ascribe to the Father? In other words, how are these verses an example of the fact that Satan is “the father of all lies” (verse 4) when there is a sense in which what he says here is true?

Verse 12: What is the point of the series that Eve goes through before we get to the phrase “did eat”? What does the woman see when she looks at the tree that she didn’t see before? What makes her think that the fruit is good to eat? Why is it good to eat? What does it mean that it is pleasant to the eyes? What is the woman doing in making these observations?

In Genesis 3:6, the Hebrew word translated wise is sakal. It means “to understand, to have insight” and also “to prosper.”

Notice that the writer begins with a lengthy introduction, but that the clause describing what she does is terse: “She took of the fruit thereof, and did eat.” What effect does this contrast create? Why does the writer add “with her” to the phrase, “gave also unto her husband”? What does that “with her” add to the meaning? (Compare Genesis 6:18, 7:7, and 13:1 for similar uses of with.)

Verse 13: The serpent had said that their eyes would be opened and they are. What does it mean that their eyes were opened? Are our eyes opened? If they aren’t, what would it mean for them to be opened? What do the Man and the Woman see when they open their eyes? Is it what they expected? What does it mean to say they knew they were naked? Did they think before that they had on clothing? Nakedness plays an important role in the account from Moses 3:25 to here. It is an important theme or symbol. Why is nakedness important to what is being said? How is it important? What does nakedness have to do with a knowledge of good and evil? Can nakedness be thought of as a type? Of what kinds of things might that nakedness be a symbol? If you were naked, how effective would an apron be as a covering? What might their sewing of aprons rather than fuller clothing tell us? Of what might it be a type?

Verse 14: Why is the Lord God walking in the Garden? Does it seem that this is a customary thing to do?

Word Biblical Commentary (page 76) notes that the verb translated walking here is later used to describe God’s presence in the tabernacle (e.g., Leviticus 26:12; Deuteronomy 23:15; and 2 Samuel 7:6-7). What is the connection between the Garden of Eden and the tabernacle?

Is the time of day that the Lord returned to the Garden significant? If so, how so? Why did Adam and the Woman hide? Why does it say they hid “from the presence of the LORD God” (my emphasis) rather than they hid “from the LORD God”? What might the word presence indicate? Is their any significance to the fact that they hid among the trees after they ate the fruit of the forbidden tree, or is that just a coincidence? If it is a coincidence, why does the wording so closely duplicate the earlier wording: tree, midst, garden? Moses could have just said they hid in the bushes. In other words, what does the narrator do by using the wording he uses here, wording that reminds of us earlier verses?

Verse 15: In Genesis the Lord God calls to Adam, asking “Where art thou?” (That call is much like his call to Abel in Genesis 4:9: “Where is Abel your brother?”) In Moses he asks “Where goest thou?” What is the difference, and does that difference make any difference? Notice that the Lord doesn’t just call out “Where are you?” He speaks to Adam when he asks the question. He obviously knows where Adam and Eve are, and we know he knows not only because he is the Lord and knows everything, but because the writer goes out of his way to make it clear that the Lord knows when he points out that the Lord spoke to Adam. So, why does the Lord ask this question? What is the Lord doing by asking? When does the Lord ask us where we are or where we are going?

Verse 16: Does Adam answer the question asked? If not, why not? What does Adam’s answer reveal about what Adam is doing? Doesn’t he understand that his answer is in itself a kind of confession of what has happened? If Adam doesn’t answer the question asked, what question is he answering? Compare Adam’s answer to the answers given by prophets in similar situations: Genesis 22:1, 7, and 11; 31:11; and 46:2; Exodus 3:4; 1 Samuel 3:4, 5, 6, 8, and 16; Isaiah 58:9; 2 Nephi 16:8; Moses 4:1; and Abraham 3:27. What might the difference between Adam’s answer and the answers given in those other places indicate about what is happening here?

Verse 17: Notice that the Lord asks two questions. What is the answer to the first? What is the answer to the second? Notice, again, the emphasis on nakedness. How does Moses 4:18 differ from Genesis 3:12? What do you make of that difference?

Verse 18: Which question does Adam answer? Why doesn’t he answer the other one? What did you say the answer to the second question in verse 11 was? How does that answer differ from Adam’s answer? Does he really answer the second question? Adam seems to be blaming here. Is he? If he is, who is he blaming? Is it only the Woman? What difference does it make that Moses 3:18 has “commandest that she should remain with me” and Genesis 4:11 has only “to be with me”?

Verse 19: Since the Lord has already heard from Adam what the Woman did, why does he ask her? How is the Woman’s answer like Adam’s? What does “beguiled” mean? (Looking in a dictionary is a good idea, but seeing how it is used in other scriptures may also give you a better sense of what “beguiled” means in the scriptures. Take a look at Genesis 29:25, Numbers 25:18, Joshua 9:22, 2 Corinthians 11:3, Colossians 2:4 and 18, 2 Peter 2:14, 2 Nephi 9:9, Mosiah 16:3, Ether 8:25, and Moses 4:6 and 19.) Have Adam and the Woman done something wrong? After all, Moses 5:10-11 shows that it was good that these things (as a whole) happened. If they did do something wrong, what? Could they have accomplished the same ends in some other way? How do you justify your answer? On the other hand, if they haven’t done something wrong, then how do you explain Moses 6:53, where we are told that the Lord forgave Adam his transgression in the Garden? If Adam didn’t do anything wrong, why did he need forgiveness?

Verse 20:

The Hebrew word translated cursed sounds very much like that translated subtle in verse 1 of Genesis 3 (and it is also very much like the word translated naked in 3:25). The play on words seems to suggest that the serpent’s cunning turns out to be his curse and that his curse is a form of nakedness (with all the symbolic connections that nakedness has).

In Hebrew, Genesis 3:14-15 (corresponding to Moses 4:20-21) are in verse. Why do you think that might be?

The Lord God gave both Adam and the Woman a chance to answer his questions, but he doesn’t ask the serpent anything nor does he give him a chance to defend himself? Why not? Why give that chance to Adam and the Woman but not the serpent? Notice that the punishment fits the crime: the serpent’s sin had to do with eating; his punishment has to do with eating. What meaning does this verse have for us? Is it a type of something? If so, of what? Does “because thou hast done this” an echo of “What is this thing which thou hast done?” in verse 19? Is “cursed above all the cattle . . . ” an echo of “more subtle than any beast of the field” in verse 5?

Verse 21: What is enmity? Who are the serpent’s seed? What does it mean to say there is enmity between the Woman and the serpent? Why enmity between the Woman and the serpent rather than between the couple and the serpent? What does it mean to say that there is enmity between the serpent’s children and the children of the Woman? Why does the Lord say “her seed” rather than “their seed”? Notice the footnotes to this verse in the LDS edition of the King James translation. They explain the Hebrew in the corresponding verses of Genesis 3. Using them we could rewrite the last part of this verse: “He shall crush thy head, and thou shalt crush his heel.” Which would you prefer, a crushed heel or a crushed head? What is the serpent being told is going to happen to him? What does it mean to say that the serpent will crush the woman’s seed’s heel? Who will crush the head of the serpent? What does that signify? (See Romans 16:20, Hebrews 2:14, and Revelation 12.)

Verse 22:

Like the curse on the serpent, in the Hebrew of Genesis 3:16, what the Lord God says to Eve is written in poetic form. Why?

Look at the footnote about the Hebrew for the comparable verse in Genesis (verse 16). Using that information, we could rewrite the first part of this verse: “I will greatly increase thy discomfort and thy size in thy conception; in discomfort thou shalt bring forth children.”

In the Hebrew of Genesis 16, the usual word used for the pain of childbirth is not used here. Instead, the verse uses a word that refers to pain less specifically and that has the connotation of work, very much like the English word labor. This emphasizes the other meanings of the word rather than the idea of pain. How is the understanding created by this difference of meaning different from our usual understanding of the passage?

Does this verse necessarily describe a punishment? Notice that the Lord describes what he says to the serpent as a curse, but he doesn’t use that word here and he doesn’t use it when he speaks to Adam, except to say that the earth is cursed for his sake. If what the Lord says to Adam and the Woman isn’t a curse, what is it? Is it a blessing? If so, how so? What does it mean to say “thy desire shall be to thy husband”? What does it mean to say, “he shall rule over thee”? (Is the earlier discussion of the word “dominion”—see the notes for Moses 3 1:28—relevant here?) Some see a parallel: You influenced your husband, getting him to do what you wanted. Now you will have to do what he wants. What do you think? Is that what is going on? What do you make of the parallel between the language used here and that used in Genesis 4:7?

Verse 23: Notice that the Lord God said to the serpent, “because thou hast done this” and he says to Adam, “because thou hast hearkened to thy wife.” “Hearken to the voice of” is an idiom in Hebrew meaning “obey.” (See, for example, Genesis 16:2 and Exodus 18:24. )If we make that change in the text—”Because thou hast obeyed thy wife”—does that change our understanding of this story? In contrast with what the Lord God said to Adam, he didn’t give a “because” when he spoke to the Woman. Why didn’t he say something like, “because thou hast hearkened to the serpent”? Why is the ground cursed? What does it mean to say that it is cursed for Adam’s sake? What does that say to us about what is going on here? Similar to the serpent, Adam has disobeyed by eating and the consequence comes in terms of what he eats. If we can understand the word “sorrow” in verse 16 to mean “discomfort,” are we justified in understanding it that way here?

Another translation for the Hebrew word pain in Genesis 3:17 and, presumably, sorrow in Moses 4:23 is labor, in other words, work. What light does that shed on this verse? What light does it shed on verse 16, where the same word is used?

When the Lord God tells Adam that he will have to do field work all of the days of his life, he gives Adam the first hint that Satan was wrong: eating the fruit does bring death.

Verse 24: Why are thorns and thistles necessary? Notice the parallelism between the end of verse 23 and this verse (the A’s indicate similar ideas; the B’s indicate a different set of similar ideas):

A cursed is the ground for thy sake;

B in labor shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

A thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee;

B and thou shalt eat the herb of the field

The parallel emphasizes two things: (1) that the ground is cursed and (2) that we eat what the ground produces through our work. (There is a very old tradition that all human beings were vegetarians prior to the Flood.) What does that parallel say to us? How might this be a type of other things? The transgression had to do with eating and the result of that transgression for Adam is discussed primarily in terms of eating. Why might that be? How is eating an important symbol in the Gospel? Who fed Adam and Eve before the fall? Who fed them after? Is there any connection between eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge, eating the herbs of the field as a result, and partaking of the Sacrament? Is there an implied contrast between eating the fruit of the Garden and eating the grain of the field? If so, what is the point of the contrast?

Verse 25: We know that work isn’t a curse since Adam was commanded to work in the Garden, before the Fall (Moses 3:15; Genesis 2:15). The first part of the verse reemphasizes the necessity of work. If we count the implied reference to work in verse 24 and if we remember that the word translated sorrow can also be translated labor or work, this is the fifth time that work has been mentioned in four verses—twice to the Woman and three times to Adam. Why so much? Notice how Moses writes this in such a way as to connect it closely to the first part of Moses 3:7. What is the import of that connection? Paraphrased this verse says that Adam will have to work until he dies because he came from the ground and will return to it. Since verses 23 and 24 have made it clear that Adam’s work consists of tilling the soil, we might even paraphrase this as follows: You will have to work the ground until you return to the ground, for you were taken from the ground and will return to it. (Verse 29 reinforces this connection.) What is being said here? What is the point of this connection of Adam, work, and the ground? Could the emphasis on our “return” to the earth be to keep us properly humble? We have been created in the image of God, and we have partaken of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge in order to have divine knowledge and to be like God (verse 28). Perhaps what this verse says is to help Adam (us) see these things from a proper perspective. Perhaps, too, the emphasis is to follow up on the penalty given with the original commandment: you shall surely die (3:17). For other helpful places where the scriptures speak of dust, see Genesis 18:27; Joshua 7:6; 1 Samuel 2:8; Job 7:21, 10:9, and 42:6; Psalms 7:5, 22:15, 44:25, 103:14, and 119:25; Ecclesiastes 12:7; 2 Nephi 1:14, 21, and 23; and 8:25; Jacob 2:15 and 21; Mosiah 2:25-26, 4:2, and 21:13; Alma 34:38 and 42:30; Helaman 12:7-8; D&C 77:12; and Moses 3:7 and 6:59. Notice the parallel between what is said to Eve and what is said to Adam. Just as in English, the Hebrew word translated “labor” can refer both to childbirth and to work. So though there are differences in what is said to each of our first parents, in the main each receives the same explanation of the results of their choice: they will have to work and they will have difficulty. Eve’s work and difficulty has to do specifically with childbirth; Adam’s has to do specifically with tilling the soil. But both are required to do the same thing, work and suffer pain / difficulty. What might we learn from this?

Verse 26: Why does Eve receive her name only now?

The Hebrew word translated “Eve,” means “life-giver.” We could just translate her name as “Life.” Given the sometimes pessimistic way this story has been read, Adam seems not to have been pessimistic: the woman with whom he has entered mortality and, in fact, the person who brought him into it by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil first is not something hateful or ignominious, but life.

Obviously Eve gives life to all those descended from her, namely the human race. But is there also any way of thinking of her as the mother of all living? Some have seen in Eve’s name a word play on the Hebrew word for “serpent.” If it is, why might Adam make that word play? What does the serpent represent besides Satan? There are many places where the serpent represents evil, for example: Genesis 49:17, Psalms 58:4, Isaiah 27:1, Revelation 20:2, 2 Nephi 2:18, Mosiah 16:3, and D&C 76:28 and 88:110. But there are also places where the serpent means something quite different than that: Exodus 4:3, 7:9-12, Numbers 21:8-9, 2 Kings 18:4, John 3:14, 2 Nephi 25:20, and Helaman 8:14-15. What might this say about what Satan was doing in the Garden? What might it say about Eve’s name? What has giving life to do with scriptures such as Exodus 7:9-12? Joseph Smith has some very interesting things to say about the power of giving lives:

The power of the Melchizedek Priesthood is to have the power of “endless lives”; for the everlasting covenant cannot be broken.

and:

Those holding the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood are kings and priests of the Most High God, holding the keys of power and blessings. In fact, that Priesthood is a perfect law of theocracy, and stands as God to give laws to the people, administering endless lives to the sons and daughters of Adam.

(Both of these quotations are from Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 322.) What is the “power of ‘endless lives’”? What does it mean to “administer endless lives”? If life-giving is the power of the Melchizedek priesthood, why is it so intimately connected with Eve in this verse and in this story? Might this teach us anything about the relation of women to the Melchizedek priesthood or about our understanding of the fulness of that priesthood?

Verse 27: What do we know about that might be what this verse is mentioning obliquely?

Literally, the word translated “coats” means “coverings.” Word Biblical Commentary (page 84) says that the form of the verb “clothed” in Genesis 3:21 (Moses 4:27) “has two main uses: either of kings’ clothing honored subjects (e.g., Gen 41:42; 1 Sam 17:38), or for the dressing of priests in their sacred vestments, usually put on [the priests] by Moses.”

Why did the Lord need to replace the coverings Adam and Eve had made for themselves? Remember the role nakedness has played in this story. What might the aprons Adam and Eve made when they first discovered their nakedness indicate? What might the replacement of those aprons with coverings from the Lord indicate? One way to think about this question is to ask yourself, “What is the difference between clothing oneself and being clothed by God?”

Verse 28: Why does the Lord God say “the man is become like one of us” (my emphasis) rather than “Adam is become like one of us,” especially since “man” translates the Hebrew word adam? (Does Genesis 5:2 help answer this question?) What does it mean to say that Adam and Eve are now like the Gods? In what sense are Adam and Eve like them? Notice what preceded this verse: Temptation, Adam and Eve discovering their nakedness, the promise of posterity and the requirement of work, and being clothed in a garment given by God. What have these things to do with the knowledge of good and evil? What have they to do with becoming like the Gods? Is this a type for us? What does the word “know” mean in this context? Think back to Adam and Eve’s knowledge of good and evil. In what does it consist? Does the use of “knew” in Moses 5:2 give us any indication of what “know” means to the Hebrew prophets? (Assume that Moses 5:2 isn’t just a euphemism. Given the fact that the Old Testament writers seem seldom to hesitate to say what they have to say straight out, it seems unlikely that Moses is using a euphemism here.) How is Adam’s and Eve’s knowledge like the knowledge that God has? Does that have anything to do with the importance of families—and therefore also with the importance of sealing? Why doesn’t the Lord want Adam and Eve to live forever?

Verse 29: If, on leaving the Garden, Adam was given the job of tilling the earth, is it a problem that very few of us today till the earth? What might Adam’s job signify to us? Some interpreters have understood the creation story not to be finished until Adam and Eve are sent out of the Garden of Eden. Do you agree or disagree? Why do you think what you do?

Verses 30-31: Why do you think that the Lord God adds this summary to the story as a whole?

Verse 30: What does this ending tell us about the story we have just read? Have we been reading part of Moses’ endowment? Why is this story the story for understanding the endowment?

Moses 5:1-15

Verse 1: Does this verse tell us that Adam could not have dominion over the beasts of the field until after the Fall? What do you make of the last sentence of the verse? What does it tell us about the relation of Adam and Eve?

Verse 2: To repeat something noted in the material on Moses 4:28, the word know is perhaps the most important word of chapter 4. The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden ends with them having knowledge—a knowledge of good and evil that makes them like the Gods. The beginning of human mortal existence begins with their knowledge of each other. Thus, the knowledge of godhood is not theoretical knowledge. It is appropriate intimate acquaintance with another person, an intimate acquaintance that makes families possible and in which one can know both good and evil. The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden and their expulsion from it is the story of the Melchizedek priesthood and the importance of the sealing power.

Verses 4-5: In verse 1 of the chapter, we hear the Lord God speaking. The Lord God is the one with whom Adam and Eve have dealt in chapter 4. The name Lord God usually refers to Jehovah. God—Elohim—was the one we saw working in chapter 3. Now, however, the story usually refers only to “the Lord,” which could be either of them, though more likely refers to the Lord God than to God. Why do you think the story makes that change? Why is it important that Adam and Eve could hear the Lord’s voice but could not see him?

Verses 6-8: Why does the Lord wait many days? Has the Lord been speaking directly to Adam? If so, why does he send an angel to speak for him now? Compare Genesis 22, where the Lord commands Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, but an angel rescinds the command. Verse 7 says “This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth.” Does which refer to “Father,” to “Only Begotten,” or to “sacrifice”? Verse 8 begins with wherefore, which usually means therefore: you will do everything in the name of the Son because the sacrifice you make is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten. Can you explain the connection between those two clauses?

Verse 9: We have this record of Adam receiving the Holy Ghost. Why don’t we also have a record of his baptism? Who says “I am the Only Begotten” in this verse, the Son or the Holy Ghost? It appears to be the latter, but how can that be? Has Adam not known before now that he and his posterity could be redeemed from the Fall?

Verses 10-11: What does it mean to say that Adam was filled? With what? We saw him receiving the Holy Ghost in the previous verse. Is this a repetition of that or does it refer to something else? To what are Adam’s eyes opened because of his transgression? How does his transgression bring him joy in this life? What does he mean when he tells us that because of his transgression he will see God in the flesh? Eve says that the transgression brings the possibility of having children, the knowledge of good and evil, the joy of redemption, and the eternal life that God gives those who obey. Is she naming four different things, or is she saying the same thing in four different ways. Is what Eve says different than what Adam says, or is she saying the same thing in a different way? How is what they say related to the knowledge that they have received, both the knowledge they received from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the knowledge they have just been given by God’s messenger?

Verses 12-13: Notice the importance once again of knowledge. When Satan says “Believe it not,” to what does the word it refer in these verses? What is Satan saying to the children of Adam and Eve when he says “I am also a son of God”? Given what Adam and Eve have just a few verses earlier said about what it means to be godly, what they have learned because of their transgression, what might it mean that suggest about what this verse says when it tells us that people began “to be carnal, sensual, and devilish”?

Verses 14-15: How does the Lord call by the Holy Ghost upon people everywhere to repent? Is the second half of this verse parallel to Moses 4:30? If so, does that suggest anything about how the two stories completed by these parallel verses might be connected to one another?

Moses 6:48-62

Verse 48-49: Are the themes of these two verses different, or do they say the same thing? In other words, does Satan’s presence in the world explain how we are made partakers of death, misery, and woe?

Verses 50-52: Why is it important that we know that the Lord is the Creator? Moses doesn’t mention Adam’s baptism, but focuses on his reception of the Holy Ghost. Enoch focuses instead on Adam’s baptism. Does that difference tell us anything about how to understand what these stories each have to teach us? Verse 52 and Moses 5:7 describe Christ as “full of grace and truth.” What does that description of him imply? How is that relevant to Adam’s experience? When we talk about the Holy Ghost, we usually do so in terms of the things that he can teach us. Here Enoch speaks about him being the agent through which the things will be given that those who have received him ask for. Can you explain Enoch’s way of thinking about this? Can we translate our way of thinking about the Holy Ghost into Enoch’s, and vice-versa? Or are these two different ways of understanding what the Holy Ghost does.

Verse 53: How is the Lord’s answer an answer to Adam’s question? Why does Adam need to have what he did in the Garden forgiven?

Verse 54: According to this verse, how long have people believed in original guilt? To what does “original guilt” refer in this verse? Does this verse give us any understanding of verse 48? What does it mean to say that children are “whole from the foundation of the world”? Why whole, for example, rather than clean? Does “foundation of the world” refer to a particular event? If so, to the creation of spirits in the pre-existence? to the creation of this world when Adam and Eve left the Garden? to something else?

Verse 55: What does it mean to say that children are conceived in sin if original guilt has been atoned for? Is conception being used metaphorically in this verse? If so, for what is it a metaphor? What is the connection between conception (metaphorical or not) and sin conceiving in the hearts of children? What does “sin conceiveth in their hearts” mean? Does it mean “sin is conceived in their hearts” or does it mean that sin conceives—creates—something in their hearts? If the former, why is the scripture in the active rather than the passive voice? If the latter, what does sin conceive in children’s hearts? Does this verse explain what seems to be our natural propensity to desire evil? If so, how? If not, why not?

Verse 56: Is the first clause of this verse a summation of the previous verse? To what is the Lord referring when he says “another commandment”? The commandment in the next verse seems to be a universalized version of the same one he gave Adam at his baptism (Moses 6:52).

Verses 59-60: What does it mean to say that we are born into the world by water, blood, and the spirit? What does the parallel between physical birth (water, blood, and spirit / breath) and spiritual birth (water, atoning blood, and Spirit) suggest? What does it mean to say that we keep the commandment by water? that we are justified by the Spirit? that we are sanctified by the blood?

Verse 61: Can you parse this sentence so that you understand how its parts fit together? For example, should we think of the first semi-colon (after “abide in you”) as if it were a colon, so that what follows is a list of the things that abide? Might each of the items after “record of heaven” mean the same thing? If so, might “record of heaven” also mean the same thing? How? If not, what does it mean in this context?

Verse 62: To what does “this is the plan of salvation” refer here? To verse 61? to verses 59-61? to something else?

Overall questions for this lesson

Given that the story of Adam and Eve is given to us in Genesis, Moses, Abraham, and the temple, it is clearly one of the most important scriptural stories. Why is it so important? What kinds of things does it teach? How are Adam and Eve and their story types for our lives? To think about that, consider any parallels between them and their story and other scriptural stories as well as any parallels between them and their story and our own lives.

Other scriptures that discuss the story of Adam and Eve: Job 31:33; Romans 5:14; 1 Corinthians 15:22 and 45; 1 Timothy 2:13-14; 2 Nephi 2; Mosiah 3; Alma 12:22-23 and 42:5; Helaman 14:16; Mormon 9:12; Moroni 8:8; D&C 27:11; 29:34-36 and 40-42; 107:55-56; Moses 1:34; 5-6; and 7:1 and 22; and Abraham 1:3 and 26; and 5:13. You might also read what Joseph Smith had to say about Adam and Eve: Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pages 12, 38, 39, 122, 157-159, 162, 167-169, 171, 301, and 345.

23 Responses to “OT Lesson 4 Study Notes: Moses 4; 5:1-15; 6:48-62”

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  2. Cameron N. said

    This is amazing. Are these just questions from your personal study? Thank you for this.

    • Jim F. said

      Yes, these are questions I’ve created as I’ve read. Thanks for looking at them. I hope they are useful to you.

  3. SJ said

    Thank you for posting this.. This is amazing.

  4. In Moses 5, Satan plays a prominent role in tempting the sons and daughters of Adam. From a doctrinal point of view, how do we know whether our poor choices to sin are the result of subtle temptations from Satan or simply poor choices based on our carnal, temporal nature and the randomness of mortal life? Is there a danger is adopting a devil-made-me-do-it attitude about every bad choice in life we make? I sometimes feel that we overplay the Satan card. Aren’t we simply in a fallen state?

    • Jim F. said

      I think you’re right, whatever we attribute it to (“fallen state” or something else), it is a mistake to blame our sins on Satan. See James 1:14.

  5. RobF said

    Gee Jim, with all this to consider, maybe we should spend the whole year just on this chapter :-)

  6. Jim, I really enjoy all the thought provoking questions you raise. It’s interesting to see your reading of these verses. There’s a lot here, and you show us that.

  7. A lot of the questions you raise deal with the language used — for example, the “sin conceiveth in their hearts” verse. If you look at 6:6, it refers to a time when language was “pure and undefined.” When the Fall took place, not only did our bodies become mortal and subject to the temptations of the natural man, language also became fallen as well. Because of this, we might expect that some of the language of the scriptures is slippery, vague, or otherwise imperfect. Given that our language is impure and defiled, a phrase like “sin conceiveth in their hearts” might be unavoidably imprecise in meaning.

  8. KirkC said

    4:8-9, Why does the woman emphasize that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is in the middle of the Garden? How is its position relevant to our understanding?

    Everything revolves around knowledge. To learn knowledge is to die and become a new person. In v6 we find that Satan “knew not the mind of God.” Therefore, Satan never had this transforming experience.

    • Kirk, interesting insight. I’ve been thinking about what it means to have knowledge of good and evil. In a previous comment, I asked how, without this knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve could be accountable for their evil act of partaking the fruit. But someone pointed out that knowledge of good and evil isn’t the same as knowledge of right and wrong. So what does it mean to have knowledge of good and evil? We always talk about this nonchalantly, but it’s really vague when you try to pin down its meaning.

  9. KirkC said

    4:10-11, What is the serpent saying when he says, “Ye shall not surely die”? What kind of doubt is he trying to plant?

    Continuing with my thoughts above, Satan wants Eve to think nothing in this world is “for sure.” I read the passage as saying something like, “Come on now Eve, you cannot know for sure that you will die! Nobody can tell the future!”

    I believe that Satan wants us to believe that true knowledge is unattainable.

  10. KirkC said

    #8, Tom.

    Here is a great quote from JS on knowledge.

    “Knowledge is power and the man who has the most knowledge has the greatest power…The reason why God is greater than all others is He knows how to subject all things to himself.”

    Therefore, knowledge has everything to do with power, and less to do with “right and wrong.” God gave Adam power of the “beasts of the field”, but he did not yet have the knowledge necessary to complete his task in the best fashion.

    What is morally right and wrong (and good and evil) seem to change every generation. So where does knowledge then come from?
    I think the answer to that question has always been the same, obedience.

    Obedience brings knowledge. Knowing right from wrong is less important then being obedient to God, because only obedience to God gives true knowledge.

    I hope this answer does not seem to convoluted, I am just writing off the top of my head here (and sorry for the lack of references)!

    • KirkC said

      Just to make myself clear I am speaking of right and wrong in a temporal sense. This would be dealing with questions like: Is the death penalty wrong? Can I drink alcohol? Is it ok to have more than one wife? Questions like that.

      I want to make clear that in an eternal sense there is a perfect way to understand stand the ultimate good and evil. I think that comes through the temple. However, I still hold to the same model. Obedience bring knowledge. This knowledge includes (in an eternal sense) the ultimate understanding of good and evil.

  11. KirkC said

    6:12, What is the point of the series that Eve goes through before we get to the phrase “did eat”? What does the woman see when she looks at the tree that she didn’t see before? What makes her think that the fruit is good to eat? Why is it good to eat? What does it mean that it is pleasant to the eyes? What is the woman doing in making these observations?

    The longer Eve talks with Satan the more she thinks he starts to make sense. I think this is the same in our lives. The longer we dabble in sin and hang out in places we should not be, the more likely we are to fall into the ways of “the world.” The more you seriously contemplate the pros of breaking the commandments, the more likely you are to actually break them.

    For example, if you own a store and think about all the reasons it would be good to be open on Sunday, more than likely you will eventual come around to being open on Sunday; because you are continually having an open dialogue with Satan about the issue. Eve does the same thing. Eve does not cast Satan away, but listens until he starts to make sense, and his ideas become her ideas.

    In v6 Satan put something/”it” into the “heart” of the serpent. I think he put something into the “heart” of Eve, and puts things into our “hearts” if we let him.

    PS I’d love to hear ideas of what the “it” in v6 is.

    • JoeSwiss said

      “ideas of what the “it” in v6 is.”

      don’t look backward for antecedents, rather, look forward (it = “to beguile Eve”):

      here it is, with a couple of extra helpful dashes:

      And Satan put it into the heart of the serpent, (for he had drawn away many after him), — and he sought also — to beguile Eve …

  12. KirkC said

    4:19 Have Adam and the Woman done something wrong? After all, Moses 5:10-11 shows that it was good that these things (as a whole) happened.

    Often in church I hear something to the effect of, “Eve did not sin because _______” (fill in the blank). Mormons are over-protective of Eve.

    In v18-20, it appears nobody wants to take the blame. Adam blames Eve, Eve blames the serpent, and we know Satan never fesses up to anything he does. In fact, blame might be the wrong word here, responsibility might be a better fit.

    Are Adam and Eve blessed after leaving the Garden? Yes, because it takes awhile. The blessings do not come until Adam and Eve come to a knowledge of what is really going on. In chapter 5 an angel visits them (v6), the Holy Ghost comes (v9), and then Adam and Eve see that their transgression has been turned into good.

    Did Adam and Eve repent? I think they did. Thus, the forgiveness in 6:53. If Adam and Eve would not have repented, then I do not think their transgression would have ever been for their good. In fact, without repentance ch. 5 never happens at all.

    So, did Adam and Eve do something wrong? Yes.

  13. KirkC said

    In 4:20 we find that Satan is cured to eat “dust…all the days of thy life.” In 4:25 we find that Adam was was made from the dust of the ground, and will eventually return to the dust of the ground.

    Anyone see a connection between the dust that Satan is cursed to eat and the dust from which Adam is created?

  14. carolineb said

    I often wonder while I’m in the temple about Eve’s real misstep in taking the fruit, especially since after she does this, we, as women are given a less direct access to God on multiple levels. I’ve come to the conclusion that Eve went wrong when she didn’t CONSULT with Adam–when she went off and did what she knew was the “right thing” instead of working in a partnership. I think as we take steps in the temple to a place closer to God, we see that one key purpose of the “great and everlasting covenant” is to “receive” one another and to become ONE. This, of course, is an essential step in becoming God’s ourselves….something we don’t talk about too openly in our church anymore. Perhaps the consequences of the fall that God places on Eve (ie, the man will rule, or preside) provides the greatest chance of this ONENESS to occur.

    Along these lines, I like what Hugh Nibley says here:
    There is no patriarchy or matriarchy in the Garden; the two supervise each other. Adam is given no arbitrary power; Eve is to heed him only insofar as he obeys their Father”and who decides that? She must keep check on him as much as he does on her. It is, if you will, a system of checks and balances in which each party is as distinct and independent in its sphere as are the departments of government under the Constitution”and just as dependent on each other. (Hugh Nibley, “Patriarchy and Matriarchy,” Old Testament and Related Studies, page 92f.)

    I find this interesting because so many outside the church ( and in) lament the idea that our church keeps women down. While I do agree that there are things in our church culture that are dysfunctional, I think that the deeper doctrine is waiting to enlighten us, if we let it. Here, hugh Nibley is saying that if we understood the temple better, we would understand the how a true male/female partnership should be played out. I think many LDS marriages could benefit from a greater sense of the ONENESS that is paramount in progressing in this life and the next.

    Just thoughts stewing in my head as I prepare my lesson. Anyone care to elaborate??

  15. Laura said

    As always, I’m grateful for these posts. They snap me out of my habit of too-often sleep-walking through the scriptures.

    One thing I think about in these verses: in Moses 4:27 when God clothes Adam and Eve with “coats of skins,” might that have been the first time Adam and Eve saw something killed? And what would it be like to witness violence for the first time? What could the sacrificed animal be designed to teach Adam and Eve? What extra meaning does that give to the clothes Adam and Eve wear? I think Adam and Eve must have remembered that animal’s death for their sake every time they put on those clothes and were grateful for protection from cold, rain, thorns, and so on.

  16. KirkC said

    #14 carolineb, great Nibley quote, and I would concur.

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